I view people putting their bullying opinions out there like a flasher in the park. They run up, show you stuff that is none of your business to be seeing, for the purpose of making you feel uncomfortable. So, in my opinion, overt your eyes. Don’t be a voyeur to internet exhibitionism. They are trying to violate your boundaries.
With all that said, here’s what I think should be happening in a writer’s group, and here is what I tend to do when I put up something for review:
1- I bring a pen and paper.
2- I shut up!
3- I listen.
We may not be able to change the external environmental event, but we can change our beliefs, perception, and conceptions about it.
Many times in fantasy we romanticize the thief as the suave, fast-talking, cut-purse, but in a real psychological sense there is a very fine, gray line between the cut-purse and the cut-throat. They are quite often the same person. Within the archetype of the thief lies one of the few instances where I wish writers were grittier–more realistic with the character’s motivations.
Many of my more seasoned vets out there know that opening a story up with weather is a giant no-no. The memo hasn’t gotten out to some of our unpublished friends yet, however.
Now, I’m not writing this blog to criticize other authors, or to poke fun. I’m writing this blog to look at some very good reasons to NEVER open up a story with weather. (Well…almost never. Wheel of Time novels open up with weather–the wind to be exact…but those openings aren’t really the beginning, after all.)
I’ve heard the argument more than once that the fantasy worlds where sexual assault goes unpunished are just grittier than our own. It is war-time. People are living under constant threat. This is how it was in Earth’s dark history, too. While I do not argue with any of that, I would like to argue with the character development of these sexual predators. I’m not here to say we need to stop having sexual assault in fantasy. If it fits the story, write it, my brother! What I am saying is that we need to be mindful to how we treat our characters, specifically our sexual offenders in fantasy. We need to be mindful that we are being realistic, and setting the right character progressions for a person who is a sexual offender in fiction. What I’m calling into criticism is how I’ve seen some authors develop character arcs involving these characters.