Wednesday, October 6, 2021

IWSG: Drawing the Line


Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking.

If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

October 6 question -In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard! Be sure to check out what they have to say, and visit other writers in the blog hop!

There are definitely places I haven't gone in my writing, but I haven't drawn any conscious lines. I believe in giving each story what it needs, so I wouldn't rule anything out so far as subject matter or language. It all depends on what that story needs. 

I have, however, stopped writing a story because it was taking me down a dark road I didn't have the wherewithal to travel at that time. Thursday's Children was a dystopian fantasy I was writing a few years ago, which I finally shelved because the real world was feeling too dystopian for me just then and I needed to go somewhere else in my fiction. 

I hope to get back to it someday though, so that's more about timing than about a hard no. I'll put myself through emotional struggle for the sake of a story, but there are limits. 

image source

I have more limits as a reader, because I'm reading for my personal entertainment and enlightenment, and I'm not interested in reading anything that drags me down or fills me with fruitless anger. 

I have made exceptions, but it's hard for me to read Holocaust or Slavery literature anymore. I've read a lot of it over the years, and no matter how good a books is, it's a hard sell for me if it's set in American Slavery times or during the Holocaust. 

I also don't like to read books that include rape anymore. I've read too many where it was handled badly, with no respect or sensitivity for victims or revealing limited thinking about what might traumatize a character or motivate other characters who love them. So, if I know going in that a story features rape as part of the storyline, I'm looking for a lot of reassurance that it's handled well, and doesn't venture into glorifying violence (which is probably part of my problem with a lot of Holocaust and Slavery literature, too). 

I would *never* suggest that my personal preference means that other people shouldn't read or write those kinds of stories. You should do what you need and want. I just might not agree to travel some roads by your side. 

Part of why I write is because story is how I process the world, and it can be helpful to me to write stories about things that worry, frighten, or anger me, so I will always leave the door open to consider writing anything that tugs on my soul to be written . . .but I'll also protect me from me, when necessary and say "Well, not today, perhaps." 

How about you? Are there things you won't write or read about? Topics that are taboo or at least hard sells? I'd love to hear about them in the comments. 


  1. Timing is sometimes so important. Before covid, I read a book about a pandemic. Fascinating. Since covid, I can't read that. It feels too personal, too intense. Have a good writing month.

    1. Yes! Reading is just about what's on the page, it's also about where you are as a person in that moment and what you need.

  2. Yes, what we read is often affected by our experiences, like going through COVID. I've need to read books with a fast pace that I can lose myself in since my husband died. And I'm not really interested in reading stories about a pandemic after going through one.

    1. Yes. Dystopian writers have probably had a bit of a lull here lately, between politics and reality being stranger than fiction.

  3. I wouldn't write about a pandemic- yet. Give it a few years.

  4. Yeah, I agree with your choices. I'm willing to learn, be enlightened by a character overcoming tragedy, etc...
    but no shallow storylines that come across as contrived or aimed at emotional manipulation.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  5. You make some very good points in your blog. I am much choosier in what I read and what I write these days because both affect me in a deeper way than they used to. I, too, am 50-ish. Found you through the IWSG blog and glad I did. I enjoy reading your posts. Happy October!

    1. Thanks so much! It's great to "meet" you and thanks for coming by.