Sigh. This election did not turn out the way I had hoped. My husband tried to cheer me up with his calm, rational optimism, but I would have none of it -- sometimes a person just wants to be upset. Anyway, how are you doing? Are you okay?
I wanted to blog today about tackling tough issues in one's writing -- something that seems in line with the current political climate on a multitude of levels. And when I say, tough issues, I don't mean craft shit like plot, characterization, setting, etc; I mean tough issues such as racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism. You know the fun stuff dreams are made of.
I'm currently working through the hardest book I've ever written, a YA mystery set in 1995 featuring a M/M pairing. It's my passion project, but it's also a beast to write. I wrote 75K words and then realized I lost sight of the story (my mystery threads practically cannibalizing the book), and I started over. Now, I'm 50% through and while I think the story is structurally better, I'm still struggling because if I'm going to write a mystery featuring two gay teens in the mid-90s, then there is no way I can, nor should I, glaze over the blatant homophobia prevalent in that decade.
I mean, the 90s was a period where we used "that's gay" as freaking slang (I was guilty of this). Where words like faggot and homo were thrown around without any regard. Where politicians actually called gay people "morally weak." I purposefully set my book in 1995 so I could tackle some of these issues. But, I also have to make sure I don't bash my readers over the head with a point. There's a balance beam one must walk in writing fiction, careful not to tip over into the Preach Pit or on the other side, Way Too Subtle. I'm striving to entertain while making my readers empathetic and thoughtful, and communicate my message and themes.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you tackled or plan to tackle a tough issue? And what were your concerns?