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Questioned Proposal

Copyright © 2008 Ethan Lofton via Flickr, cc Some rights reserved

As writers we have many decisions to make. There are the obvious ones like characters, setting, plot, genre, etc–the basic who, what, why, when, how of writing. But then there are the choices I never anticipated and those are the ones that seem at the forefront of my mind.

Where does reality end and fiction begin in the realm of values and belief systems?

Am I staying true to my beliefs if I am writing something completely outside the limits? Or does this make me a poor follower of [insert religion here]?

Can I have an MC who is more Jezebel than Joan of Arc without being a traitor to “the cause”?

Will having/not having sex in a novel really change the outcome? Should it be written another way?

Can my characters behave/speak in a certain way without it reflecting upon me personally?

Does it matter what the mass readership decides about who I am personally based on what I write?

How far am I willing to go?

How thick will my skin need to get before this is all over?

The list could continue, but they all amount to the same thing… is a writer’s fiction a true reflection of who they are? It was one thing when my stories were for me or my friends. Because I know they know me. If I write a short story about an MC discovering God is really a giant computer they aren’t going to run screaming to the hills because I’m a blasphemer. Or if I write about a sex-o-matic-Venus-freak MC, they aren’t going to hide their teenagers from me because I’m a terrible influence on others.

But the general public won’t know that about me. Like other authors before me, they’ll read the work, decide what’s morally right and wrong, and then burn me at the cross for daring to cross lines that no good Christian would cross. Is it enough to know that I know the truth?

I know these are questions that I must answer for myself (but don’t let that stop you from offering your two cents). I just wonder, dear reader, are there questions you’ve had to ask yourself during the writing process that you didn’t expect? How did you handle it?