Would You Like A Side Order of Misogyny, Prejudice, or Homophobia With That?

by | Aug 25, 2020 | Articles | 0 comments

I didn’t intentionally set out to write a new novel addressing the rampant intolerance, Islamophobia, and racism in America today. I really didn’t.

My novels always start with a character, or characters. Sometimes their actions get pretty hectic right out of the gate; other times, there’s more of a slow burn. But character is first and foremost, and I’ve even written a blog post on that subject. I’ll start new projects with snippets of dialogue, or interior monologue, belonging to an as-yet-undefined character.

Such was the genesis of my latest WIP—that’s Work-in-Progress for all you non-writers out there—a novel tentatively titled Hot Scenes. Before I had a title or even a theme, I had J. Edgar Schnatz, an obnoxious, fully-realized Hollywood director with a potty mouth and a truckload of politically incorrect opinions. In fact, I might more accurately say he had me. Well, he had my attention anyway.

 

It’s Still Annoying to Use the Word Zeitgeist, Right?

Okay, I won’t start this section off with it, but something in the air right now must have influenced me to move forward with Hot Scenes and J. Edgar’s unholy adventures. It’s ironic, too: prior to delving into the first and second chapters of the manuscript, I didn’t even have an opening. On the other hand, I had over twenty pages of a historical novel that’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. Somehow, that book would have to wait.

One of the weirdest things about writing a blog post discussing a WIP is I haven’t discussed it with anyone else. The only thing I’ve shared about this novel is some dialogue, which I read to an old college friend. (It’s hilarious…and yes, he laughed.) So I find myself in the awkward position of writing about something I don’t know much about, this developing novel.

Of course, I’ve mapped out a general plot line, and I’ve created some character sketches of people whose roles I don’t quite understand yet. I’m sure, as time goes on, more will be revealed. That’s the creative process.

 

Is One Theme Overarching?

I don’t have an answer to that question, although I have my suspicions. But I thought I’d throw it out there today as the theme to this week’s post—which is a day late, I know, owing to a little WordPress problem. And the question for you, the reader, is this: do you think one of our many cultural problems is most in need of being urgently addressed above the others?

Systemic racism, personal prejudices and bigotry, misogyny…these all play their parts in my upcoming novel. The trigger warning, if I were inclined to write such a thing, would be longer than most short stories. But is there one theme, above all others, you’d like to see addressed—no matter how painful it might be to read?

And there’s the rub, as it were. This novel is undoubtedly going to be filled with some of the ugliest human behavior around. Not physical violence, but violent language, rudeness, insensitivity to the sensibilities of any decent reader, really. That’s sort of the point. It’s satirical, and the characters’ bad behavior shows them in their truest, least flattering, light.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

advance reader copy

Does An ARC Have to Include A Cover Illustration?

One of the most confusing concepts in publishing is that of the Advance Reader Copy, or ARC. I call it confusing because there appears to be no universal agreement on what those initials actually mean. While some sources refer to an ARC as an Advance Reader Copy,...
post

Why Subscribe To A Blog?

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you probably know I post something new on my blog most Mondays. Or maybe you don’t know that at all. I’ll admit, I’m not exactly the greatest promoter of my own blog. When it comes to social media platforms like Twitter, I'm...
relax

Five Ways to Relax During Quarantine

​I thought a good blog post this week would be on how to unwind—not just during our current era of quarantine and “social distancing,” but on any day off. What my wife calls a holiday. That could be any time, right? I’ve been running so hard lately, I've barely had...
staycation

The Big July 4th Staycation

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” —Eugene Ionesco   I'll admit it: last week’s blog post was pretty much non-existent. All I posted was a flag picture and a headline, “Happy birthday,...
ebook

Another Monday Blog Post – And a Special Offer

One of the great things about WordPress websites is the ability to schedule blog posts. So Happy Monday to you, but you're probably reading this while I'm taking my wife to DisneyWorld! Last week was "Happy New Year" time, so now we're into good old regular blog...

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

This past weekend, I did what a lot of us are doing nowadays—frittered some time away on Facebook. I'm doing one of those "post the cover of an album you love" every day for a week or whatever, and Sunday's pick was Bruce Cockburn's Stealing Fire, which featured the...
coming-of-age

Dreams, Memories, And Growing Up One Day At A Time

We use up too much artistry in our dreams—and therefore often are impoverished during the day. - Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow   Boy, ole Nietzsche really had it right, didn’t he? Last night I went through mental movies that ranged from being...
asia

Adventures In Southeast Asia

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” ― Eugene Ionesco I first began visiting Southeast Asia over twenty years ago, so it probably comes as a surprise to readers that I haven't written about my...

Short Story Contest

As we head into September, I'm struck by how quickly this year has flown by. I have a radio interview in two days and a book fair next month, and I'm sure there will be much more happening as I go full bore with marketing campaigns for Miles of Files, Jana, and...
creativity

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #5: Creativity vs. Money

One of the most daunting questions amateur writers face is whether they can make money following their most creative pursuits. Are they too non-commercial? Will an agent be interested? Will my work sell at all? The question of Creativity vs. Money isn’t relevant for...
self-promotion

What’s The Problem With Shameless Self-Promotion?

While I still find it somewhat hard to believe, I've been on Twitter for almost eight years. I know this not only because Twitter shows Joined March 2015 on my profile but also because, even if they eliminate that feature, I use a tracker called Who Unfollowed Me? If...
MLK

MLK Day 2023

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For many of us, today is always something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seemed to take in recent years....

Twitter Tips for Authors in 2023

If you follow my blog, you probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. In 2020, I wrote a post about Twitter for fellow writers that got a good response. Three years later, the landscape has changed, but some Twitter best practices...
rails

Going Off The Rails (But Not On A Crazy Train)

Last April, I wrote a blog post called Back on Track With a Work-In-Progress. Part of that post was to talk about the difference between a “plotter” and a “pantser” (and to describe myself as a hybrid of the two, a “plantser”). Another, less obvious motive, was to...
French

Those Tricky French Authors and Their Obsessions

Today’s blog post was originally going to be Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. III. However, after seeing parts I and II lined up, I decided to call an audible and make it something less repetitive. Somehow the SEO gods have gotten into my head. As I’ve mentioned...
scared

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. II

In last week’s post, I mentioned a pretty well-known author who has publicly reported his publisher “wouldn’t touch” a new release, in part because a character in his novel referred to herself as “fat.” I heard this story on a podcast, and I remember thinking, “Wait...
censorship

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want

I’ve been stewing on this for a while. It’s been brewing for quite a while. I could probably write a song about it (how about a rap?), but I don’t think I will. This is more of a blog post topic, and it might even deserve a series. And that’s the title and topic of...
gratitude

Should Every Month Be Gratitude Month?

When I was a kid, I loved Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. I read it daily and collected nearly every paperback volume of the cartoon, so I could see what I’d missed since the comic strip’s inception in 1950.  Certain things stuck: quotes like “happiness is a warm puppy”...
robot

More Thoughts On Robot Writers and The Tech Dystopia

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post here called When Will the Robot Overlords Replace Us? Apparently, I’m fairly obsessed with this stuff, because every time I come here and empty my brain, it seems to come up again. Today is no different. Part of the reason,...