Ever feel like you’re just one petty annoyance away from becoming the crotchety old guy from your childhood neighborhood that used to yell “get off my lawn, you kids!” whenever you passed his house? Yeah, us too. That’s why we employ that guy to write this part of the blog. Enjoy! (Or, if not, get off our lawn, you kids!)
Read a bunch of reviews for a suspense novel I’d enjoyed the other day. Noticed a bunch of readers rated the book as a DNF (Did Not Finish) because one of the characters spouted a constant stream of obscenities and racial slurs. Now, I find racial slurs just as offensive as the next guy, but the character who was so offensive? He was a skinhead who’d just escaped from prison. Would you expect such a character to put on company manners when addressing our intrepid heroine? Ask her if she’d like a spot of tea, maybe? I’m betting that if the author had toned the character down in any way, the same readers who were so put-off by the skinhead’s language would’ve bitched and moaned that the character didn’t come across as authentic. Seriously people, is there any way for an author to win in this scenario? Can we all agree that just because the author writes a disagreeable character, it doesn’t mean that the author is disagreeable? Characters say things that real people wouldn’t dream of saying. That’s why it’s called fiction, people. Get over it. And if you can’t? Well, get off my lawn!