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I don't know if i can ever use these themes in my writing

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by srebak, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. srebak

    srebak Troubadour

    I'll cut right to the chase;

    I'm not sure if i'll ever be able to write stories with the following themes as a part of them:

    1. Coming-of-Age

    The theme intrigues me, i'll admit that, but, since the main aspect of this is "growing up", i don't think i can write anything around it. You see, I don't like being called immature or childish and when my mother mentioned i was growing up, i couldn't help but take her comment as an insult. How could i write a story with "growing up" as theme, if the very statement hits a negative nerve in me?

    2. LGBT themes

    I'm not gonna lie, lesbianism has never sat well with me. I mean, I'm not gonna join a campaign against it or vote to ban it or anything like that, but, I can't really say i support it either. It's just the way i feel, it can't be helped. I don't think I'll ever be able to write a story with a lesbian couple. If i do have a romantic couple, it will always be a straight one. Though, with all the lesbian couples coming into the media nowadays, you can see why I'm worried. I don't want to send the wrong message, but i just can't feel comfortable around this subject.
  2. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    Coming of age can happen in a variety of ways. My MC in the fantasy series is becoming an adult during times of warfare for example.

    I'm not interested in LGBT themes as far as being the main theme of a book, but on a smaller scale it's possible to incorporate them. It's certainly not going to be focused on some type of social commentary though.

    There's no rule that says you have to include "x" theme in your story. There's really no need to explain why you don't want to use LGBT.
  3. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    IMHO, writing is about being uncomfortable. If you're not being challenged, technically, emotionally, or intellectually in some way then you're not growing as a writer in any way.

    With that said, as a writer, you don't need permission to do or not do anything. You tackle subjects that interest you, not what others expect of you.
  4. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    If you don't want to write a straightforward story of someone going from "not grown up" to "grown up," can you reject or subvert the concept? I'm deeply in love with the novel Wringer, which shows a violent, unempathetic model of "manhood" and and stars a hero who refuses to become that hardened.

    Is there a reason you specify "lesbian"? Could you write a gay male couple, or a polyamorous group? A character who's completely uninterested in sex? How about a character who's trans, or identifies as both male and female, or identifies as neither male nor female? I'm not making suggestions, just trying to figure out where your borders are.
    A. E. Lowan likes this.
  5. Russ

    Russ Istar

    Then don't.
  6. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    I disagree. I don't think there's anything fundamental to storytelling or writing in being uncomfortable. I'm sure some writers do need to constantly challenge themselves and push through their comfort zone. That sort of ambition is important to motivate certain types of people. But there's nothing universal about it. For many people, those things would only be a detriment. And for many others, they may want to challenge themselves sometimes, but not all the time. Either way, that's nothing to do with the actual storytelling. It's to do with the storyteller.
    FifthView and Miskatonic like this.
  7. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    Well there's being uncomfortable because you are trying to attempt to write in a particular format that you haven't done before, and tackling subject matter that makes you uncomfortable.

    Writing non-fiction would make me uncomfortable because of the challenge it presents.
  8. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    For me, the coming-of-age story has two primary strengths.

    First, it's a universal experience. Even if the experiences and reactions to it are different for people, nonetheless everyone has experienced that state of dawning understanding about the world. Of course that understanding, about any given feature of the world, will vary. But the base experience is common.

    Second, there is the "Harry Potter Effect." My idea of that effect solidified with the first two Harry Potter movies. Some critics lambasted them because they followed the books "too closely" and then, when the third movie appeared, The Prisoner of Azkaban, critics celebrated the fact that it had been made more like a typical Hollywood movie, or was more "mature" in its development. But I still very much like the first two movies because they show Harry entering the magical word and learning about it for the first time. Especially in the first movie, everything Harry sees is as new to him as it is to us. A coming-of-age character enables this sort of revelatory approach to a fantasy world and may make communication of that world to the reader simpler and more vibrant than using a character who has "been there, seen that, done that" for a decade or more. (Not to mention: the many opportunities for direct explanation, as teachers, mentors, guides appear to help that young character.)

    You can see a similar effect in the first two movies in LotR as the hobbits keep entering new terrain and new experiences.

    But of course, I agree with Penpilot on this:

    What makes a writer necessary, in my humble opinion, is the way she approaches subject matter individually. An uncommon perspective is usually welcome; so if what interests you is something else, then do that something else. Besides which, coming-of-age stories have been done, and done, and often overdone.
  9. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

    Is it that while you know nothing's wrong with homosexuality, your gut can't accept it? Or is it simply that you consciously dislike the concept homosexuality?

    If it's the former, then my advice would be to challenge your gut, and write what makes you uncomfortable. After all, your gut's wrong, and so you shouldn't let it hold you back by limiting your creative options. The more you contemplate the subject, the more comfortable you'll become.

    If it's the latter, then *shrug* I guess my advice would be to step into the 21st century.
    A. E. Lowan likes this.

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