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Worried my Books will get Burned.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Scales, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. Scales

    Scales Minstrel

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    Please move this if in the wrong section.

    The Zipangu Trilogy has a fictional version of a controversial war event, also figures and it could cause burning. Is there anything an author can do to stop it happening?

    Plot of the Zipangu Trilogy:
    A dingo called Claw gets taken to a fantasy version of Japan by a dragon called Safaia to stop occupation. There are seven knights protecting the realm, but there are four remaining.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    If someone wants to burn a copy of your book, there's really no way to stop it. As long as they bought the copy, let them burn it. If enough of them do it, the publicity might be good.
     
    Ophiucha likes this.
  3. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    If you've managed to gain enough of an audience that some of them are burning your books, I say, "Great job!"
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm a little confused - you mean if they're literally going to burn the books? Then the thing to do would be to put out some kind of statement-of-intent so that people wondering "what's all this about?" would have the author's take and a link to the sales page.

    Or do you mean, like, burned in the reviews because people are seeing the controversy and not the content? I suppose the best someone could do is a disclaimer of some kind that reviewers would see before they review.
     
  5. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    yeah, I was confused, too. If the subject matter is so controversial that you believe your book will be outright hated, I'd be more concerned with the time I spent with something an agent is probably going to reject within minutes of reading.

    I guess you have to be prepared to offend if you're writing something extremely controversial. In my books I deal with morality a lot. I expect some readers will see my version of morality as distasteful, while others will feel emotionally connected to the difficult situations my characters find themselves in. SO will some people hate it? Probably. Hopefully not most.

    If you really fear people will be outraged enough to destroy your book either by burning or reviewing or speaking out about it, I'd say carefully consider whether publishing it is the best choice. I recently mentioned how difficult a tarnished reputation is to polish, and I think this far exceeds the worries of maybe turning in something sloppy.
     
  6. Scales

    Scales Minstrel

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    Steerpike: [If someone wants to burn a copy of your book, there's really no way to stop it. As long as they bought the copy, let them burn it. If enough of them do it, the publicity might be good.]
    Great publicity. never thought of that.

    Edit: Great messages, everyone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  7. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    By controversial war event do you mean WWII? There have been plenty of novels that deal with approaching WWII in different ways. So I wouldn't worry about that if that's the case.

    Also, if someone burns your books, or bans them, that's some of the best publicity you can get.
     
  8. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    "If there's one thing I've learned from video games, it's that when you start meeting enemies it means you're going in the right direction." --Unnamed guy on Tumblr.
     
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  9. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    It might help if you told us what exactly is controversial about your book.
     
  10. wino

    wino Dreamer

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    So what's the controversy?
     
  11. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    So far, I don't get the controversial part either. So far, most modern time book burnings have been done when some major religion felt offended by the book's content and the book was popular enough. It's probably not avoidable if a book containing something like magic in the real world, uses the term "witch" in a positive context or contains overt criticism of any religion becomes highly popular.
    I don't think war-related stories carry the same potential for trouble. With the German part of WWII, almost any approach has been taken already. The only thing that would cause trouble would be anything trying to glorify the nazi-side, this wouldn't be burned but outright banned though, at least in Germany. Well, as long as the names and situations aren't changed well enough so no one will recognise it for what it is.
    This seems to be true for yours, I have no idea what it's supposed to refer to.
     
  12. Scales

    Scales Minstrel

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    A fantasy version of the atomic bombings, Operation Downfall and the people behind it.
     
  13. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    I knew a woman who bought Harry Potter just to burn it.

    You're going to offend somebody, no matter what you do.
     
  14. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    That's... not very controversial. You'll be fine.
     
  15. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I believe you can offend or make people irate about any topic. All it takes is taking a non-traditional approach to a well established position.
    Such as- Hitler was a really nice guy, and the Americans were the extreme war criminals.

    Use of religion in a book can cause extreme reaction, even if it isn't the main theme.
     
  16. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    That's not so much "non-traditional" as it is twisted and insane. Consequently, I wouldn't be so much offended as I would be gobsmacked by the absolute insanity. To be truly offended to the point of ire, one has to give the offensive thing at least a shred of credence. Otherwise it could simply be ignored or ridiculed. I cannot bring myself to give your example any credence whatsoever.
     
  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    All it takes is a little imagination to come up with fiction scenarios.
     
  18. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Worrying about the controversy your book might cause before its published, or even written, is a "cart before the horse" scenario.

    You can't waste any thought about who might be offended about what. Write the story you want to tell. If you censor yourself, in the interest of avoiding offense, your tale will read bland and lifeless, devoid of power. If you give these notions much thought, you're only stifling creativity.

    What you want to do is write with unabashed honesty. It took me awhile to reach a point where I no longer cared about what people (family and friends mainly) would think about the stories I wrote.

    Would they think I had the same thoughts and cravings of that depraved character? Would they disapprove of the genre or content? You'll have to grow beyond those concerns if you're going to write with unrestricted honesty, and that's an essential trait every artist needs to develop.


    "Maybe the hardest thing in writing is simply to tell the truth about things as we see them." - John Steinbeck


    "What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story" - F. Scott Fitzgerald
     
  19. Scales

    Scales Minstrel

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    The characters speak out against the attacks and the invasion, but those are not going to get the books burned.

    Thanks for the messages, everyone. This thread might be finished.

    Edit: Great post, T.Allen.Smith.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  20. Chad Lynch

    Chad Lynch Dreamer

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    The answer seems obvious. Just like those that would like to stop the burning of flags, invent a material that explodes when exposed to flame, then print your book on it, or make your flag out of it. Eventually the natural process of negative feedback will end the unwanted practice.
     
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