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Is this offensive or not and comments on characters.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ArenRax, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    Okay well a character I have created plays a part in my MC's life but I would like to one write about hers past but at the same time I could just write about the time her and my MC were together(not Romantically but basically a master student relationship)
    anyways this character is an Archangel and what I was thinking is that since angels in my world have free will and emotions that they can make their own decisions. Anyways this Archangel who is name Iros went through a tramatic time and is well now a drunkard for better lack of saying it.
    I was wondering if portraying an Archangel as a Drunkard would be offensive.

    Also this thread will be used to ask opinion on other characters and anyone else if they want to can post a bit on their character and ask for opinions.
     
  2. Are these Archangel's like Michael, Metatron, Gabriel or other Judeo-Christian Archangels or are the archangels of your own creation?
     
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  3. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Don't worry about offending people. As long as your intention is not to offend, it's not a big deal.

    They're your characters. Have them behave the way they're meant to behave. If that's what the story is then so be it.

    "You can't blame the writer for what their characters do." - Truman Capote

    In the end, no matter what you write, you'll have people who don't like your work. Understand that, and accept it. Then, write the story as it is meant to be written.

    If you're not honest with your story, preferring to play to some middle ground, no one will like it. I'd rather create strong reactions than no reactions at all.
     
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  4. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    I think calling her an "arch"-angel could be taken poorly especially but most people will assume this is from your own imagination and let it pass. Brian Scott Allen asks a good question. The movie Michael is very offensive to me as a Catholic but it's because they specifically name the boozing angel as an angel that I actually believe in. Using a made up angel would probably cause me to sneer a bit, I'll be honest, but I don't think it would be a deal breaker. I would view her as "partially" fallen I guess.

    BTW, Catholics (I can't speak for anyone else) believe that Angels have free will but also that their knowledge so far exceeds our own that they need only a single decision to set the path of their existence - serve God or don't...
     
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  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    As a Catholic, I think it would take a lot for something like that to come anywhere close to offensive. Just saying "A drunk archangel," I would say, instantly detaches your work from real-world religions, rather than conflate some sort of negative message onto them.

    In Catholicism, angels are considered to have been created with complete or nearly complete knowledge (although, to what degree of infallibility we hold that, I couldn't tell you). Since their salvation is knowledge-based instead of experience-based like humans, they don't change or "become" anything.


    Geesh, talk about getting ninja'ed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
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  6. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I'm not sure this is entirely accurate.
    Some people may be able to shurg criticism off if they feel it's misplaced or misguided, but for others it's not that easy.

    If you're writing something that you're worried might be offensive to some people, make sure you understand why and how it's offensive, and then ask yourself if that's something you can live with. My thinking is that as long as you know what you're aware how and why you are offensive to some people, then that's okay - even if you are.
    If you're unintentionally offensive, without being aware of it, then to me, that's somehow worse.
     
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  7. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    It is of my own creation as are others, although I am thinking of throwing the other actual Archangels as well but theyre the same as usual Pinnacles of light and justice and all that is Holy.
    And I had no idea what the definition of Angel was in Religion but I cant see anything but a god as an all knowing, all seeing entity.

    I guess I should say that my angels do not know everything but they do know most of the stuff about there worlds/Dimension since in my story there Eden which is a paradise for Gods and goddesses that are no longer prayed to.
    New Eden where Humans, spirits, and others Exist.
    Hell and heaven for Angels and demons.
    I beleive there is one more but I cant remember and I dont have my notes on hand.
    But I did ask my friends and most of them said the only one who would be effected would be those that tale religion to an extreme, there words not mine.
     
  8. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I see your point, and I agree. My comment may be a bit too brief. I was trying to illustrate the idea that honesty in writing is important, and if you're constantly worried about how someone might be offended, it can hamper your writing because your efforts will be too inhibited.

    I meant to say that your character should behave in a way that's consistent and true. A character who swears all the time may offend some people. A character who is racist, or sexist, may offend. However, that doesn't mean the character should be watered down.

    In terms of representation, like making sure a homosexual character is portrayed as an individual and not some stereotype that would be offensive, I agree with you Svrtnesse. We need to be mindful of how we portray characters and balance that against story need.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
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  9. Looking at this definition I personally wouldn't take too much offense since these archangels aren't THE archangels. Just some really powerful beings serving a more powerful being.
     
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    It's guaranteed someone will be offended. It's also guaranteed that others will cheer. The only one you probably should be sensitive to is the agent to whom you send the query letter. If that one cheers, you're golden; if that one is offended, you're sunk (at least on that particular boat).

    For myself, as an example, as soon as I see angels, I put the book down. They're on my short list, along with vampires and zombies. Not My Cuppa. So you see, there's just no pleasing everyone. Which is good, because pleasing everyone would be _exhausting_.
     
  11. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    Tooo true.And I can guess as to why you dislike Vampires and as for zombies I have never read a book besides world war z that actually had zombies.
    As for angels well......theyre nice to write about as a race that is the embodiment of all that is righteous and holy
     
  12. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I hear you, and your point is valid too: it's important to stick to your vision and not try to alter it to try and avoid displeasing the unpleasable. :)
     
  13. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

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    Will you offend someone? Absolutely. The far right, in this case. If you write about different races, you'll probably be called a racist.

    'Lord' of racism? Critics view trilogy as discriminatory - Chicago Tribune

    Will you offend the overwhelming majority? No.

    Think about Golden Compass, which had the main characters killing god and gay angels-- much more offensive than a drunken angel, especially if they aren't associated with Abrahamic tradition.
     
  14. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    Ha. wow i never Really read the Golden compass if i didnt notice that.
     
  15. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    So, I'm going to say that while most people have at least a simple understanding of angels (even me), by imparting your own lore and structure to your world/ mythology/ religions, you're deviating from what is commonly thought of as "religious propaganda" (defaming a particular religious concept, etc.).

    I wrote a pretty detailed story about the Norse pantheon, from the POV of Munin, and I absolutely intended it to be sarcastic rather than glorious, but that's because I'd like to think if the Norse gods are real, they'd have a great sense of humor. Sometimes it's just about taking a calculated risk. In my story, the only people I can fathom offending are the hard-core heathens out there, which is a small group, and again, I'd like to think they have a sense of humor, because the gods I'm writing about are flawed characters who had their own issues. By changing the archangels from those named figures, you're already taking it to another concept, and that alone makes it less offensive to those who might call it sacrilegious (is that the right word?) Anyways, I think you're good to go. :confused2:Drunkenness wouldn't even be a flaw in the Norse pantheon. HA!
     
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  16. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    I'm Catholic, and serious enough about my religion that I literally scoured the Earth to meet my devout Catholic wife.

    However, the first time I wrote an angel into my story, he was a philanderer and he told the MC the God only has one law: "Don't be an asshole." John Travolta's Michael inspired me to have this angel abuse his mortal form. Not showing sex scenes, but he bragged about his conquests: "I've ben with lions, man! Lionesses." Well, he didn't brag well, but my story wasn't meant as serious. I didn't find Michael offensive so much as it was ridiculous. Maybe the same could be said for my first novel, but still…

    I think making your characters fun will result in a more interesting story, and not necessarily offensive.


    Also, I don't want this thread to get political, but there is a comment I feel compelled to respond to. If you're on the political left, please don't assume people on the right are humorless racists. There are racists on both sides of the political spectrum, but I tend to assume most people aren't racist/sexist/bigots even if their opinions differ greatly from mine.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
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  17. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    As a devout Christian, I wouldn't be offended, but I would probably shake my head and wonder why so many people think that angels and other supernatural beings are more interesting when they are made more human. To me it's the differences from humanity, like the lack of human free will, that are fascinating. But that's just a personal opinion.
     
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