I was going to try to have my Monster With a Scarf illustrations done and up today, but I got called in to work last-minute yesterday and thus have only one illustration done… so instead, you get to read my little rant about a couple of reviews I’ve gotten on Broken Dreams and Old Guitars.
I should probably tell you, before I start, that I’m not angry with these reviewers in the slightest. They’re entitled to their opinion, however much I don’t understand or agree with it, and I also have opinions that other people wouldn’t agree with… so… yeah. And other than not really understanding their opinions, I’m not very affected by what they say. I know that I am not doing anything wrong, and I have never felt guilty about what I’ve written or been convicted to change the story so that it no longer contains the content that these reviewers don’t like.
So I’m not mad. I just don’t get it.
In Broken Dreams and Old Guitars, the main character- Alice Hudson- has a past in which she lived with her fiancé. She’s also not a Christian. Now, the story begins with her driving away in a whirlwind of shock and pain, and with feelings of being betrayed. Her fiancé has had an affair and thrown her out, and she’s not quite sure how to deal with it, so she’s basically running far, far away. Later on in the story, she finds out she’s pregnant with his twins. As well, she meets Logan Gentry, a man who is a Christian and will fall in love with her while struggling with his own past of alcoholism and whether or not he should allow himself to get involved with a woman who doesn’t share his faith.
So I’ve gotten a couple of reviews on this story, neither of which- I think- made it past the first chapter, that tell me I’m being a hypocrite for writing this story. One of the reviewers quoted a blip I used to have on my profile that said “It’s not a judgment on you, but I believe in keeping myself pure until I’m married, I believe same sex romance is wrong, and swearing offends me.”, and then went on to say I was completely hypocritical because I have no qualms writing about Alice.
And I don’t really understand this. I have always stated on my profile that I do not and never will write sex scenes, and I stand by that. Yes, I do believe that sex outside of marriage is wrong, and I will never sleep with someone until I am married.
But giving a character a past in which she’s slept with her fiancé has nothing to do with real life. It’s a story. I have a lot of characters that do things I wouldn’t do. Some of them smoke. I’d never smoke. Some of them defy their parents in anger and rebellion. I respect my parents too much to do that. Some of them believe that God is just a fantasy. I, hopefully obviously, have a very strong faith in my God.
So, since I write about characters that do or believe things I would never do or believe… this makes me a hypocrite? What about the authors that write about ax murderers and rapists and terrorists? Are they hypocrites as well, writing about these terrible acts that they would never do?
The answer is no. People aren’t hypocrites to write about things that they would probably never do. I never said I would never write about people whose pasts are full of mistakes. I never claimed that my characters would always stick to my moral compass exactly, nor that they would have absolutely perfect lives and would never make a stupid decision. Yes, I do have limits to what I will and will not write- I will never write sex scenes, I will never use curse words in my writing, and I will never write a same-sex romance.
And you know, I’ve written stories where the main women or men are alcoholics, assassins, murderers, kidnappers, liars to attain money, and even a prostitute, but somehow the only story that ever gets attacked and gets me called hypocritical is the one in which the girl sleeps with her fiancé. People don’t care if I write about all those other things, perhaps because it’s obvious that I’d never be an assassin or a prostitute. Perhaps because it’s just a given that I’m never going to murder someone or lie to marry a very rich man.
Or maybe it’s because I don’t have a disclaimer on my profile that says “I do not condone alcoholism, murder, assassination, kidnapping, lying, or prostitution,” but I did have one that said “I don’t condone sex before marriage.” And they zone in on that.
Do people have so little imagination that they think the author’s characters mirror the author exactly? That because an author writes about a girl who’s sad and angry about her fiancé’s affair and betrayal, that the author must secretly think it’s okay to sleep with the man she loves before she marries him, even though she’s said she doesn’t? Do they really have so little faith in imagination, and so little respect for the fact that if a character mirrored an author exactly, there would be no story?
The author is not the character. A good author can write about someone who is completely opposite of who they are and make that character absolutely and 100% believable. A good author doesn’t just stick to what he or she might do, but goes beyond that to what the character would do, and what the story needs.
And you know what? Part of the reason Alice has a past in which she did things that I would never do is so that I could later on show the grace of God. The story isn’t finished, but I have plans to redeem her of her past. Some people think that the whole God thing is a load of hogwash, and that it’s judgmental to say she needs forgiveness, and I won’t argue with them. I believe what I believe and I will stick by it, and you can believe whatever you want to believe. You can tell me that yes, I am a hypocrite for giving her a past of sex before marriage, and that since I wouldn’t do it, I shouldn’t write about it.
But I know that I am not doing something wrong. If I were to go into gory detail about her sex life and give her memories of the things she and her fiancé did in their bedroom, then I would be a hypocrite. I would be doing something that I said I would never do, and that is that I will never write sex scenes. But writing about a woman with a past full of mistakes isn’t doing something I said I would never do.
And if you ever catch me saying I won’t write about something, and later on I write about it, then you can call me a hypocrite. And then I will agree with you, and most likely I’ll feel convicted to change, and I’ll feel guilty for doing what I said I’d never do.
Till then… well. You don’t have to read my stories.
P.S. This post is brought to you by MY LAPTOP!!! The charger cord finally came! I’m so happy!!! As you can probably tell by the multiple exclamation points…
So… I’m not actually going anywhere today, mostly out of laziness and partly because I kept scrolling through outfits and nothing really worked for me. So I decided I can run my errands tomorrow and stay home today.
And instead of taking a nice sane picture of what I’m actually wearing, I decided to pretend I was a spy/model/weirdo (oh wait… I kind of am the last one)and take a few pictures of my favorite coat that… for some reason, I never wear.
Please forgive me for being a total dork in the pictures.
And yes, I know. My spy face is horrible. Sue me. It’s really hard for me to not smile when I’m doing silly things.