Friday, November 19, 2010


There's always talk about how this group or that group wants to censor a book, keep it out of libraries so others can't be tainted by what's within its pages.  Betsy Lerner, author of THE FOREST FOR THE TREES, suggests censorship might actually begin with the author herself!

Is there someone in your life you're trying to protect, thus keeping you from opening up in your writing?  Maybe if you write about a character whose relationship between his/her parents is strained, you're afraid everyone will think poorly of your own parents.  Or maybe there are feelings you keep so hidden because you don't want anyone in your life to know what's really going on in your head.

As long as you soften you're writing to protect family, friends, yourself, you'll never reach your potential.  How can you write about life if you aren't willing to delve into your own?

And that's what this post is about.  I censor my writing.  A lot.  I'm always worried about offending my Betas or you, dear readers, by not keeping up with the bubbly, happy-go-lucky persona I've created (not to mention my mother reads this blog and there are some things even SHE doesn't know).  But from now on, I'm not going to allow myself to be the victim of my own censorship.  I'm going to be totally honest with you, dear readers.  And my posts will reflect this from now on.

Discussion:  Do any of you censor your writing?  And if you do, are you willing to put an end to it today?  It's scary, I'll admit (and I haven't even done anything yet), but I think it's helpful and maybe even necessary.


  1. yeppers! i sure do!... usually.

    when you censor your writing, it doesn't feel genuine.

    but we do need to remember audience. i mean, i tend to write YA. i don't want to write something that will be harmful to teens, so i really try to think about (and hold myself accountable) whether i would allow my own kids to read my writing when they hit the teenage years. teens are capable of (and hungry for)handling really tough issues, strong emotions, complicated philosophy. They should not be kept in a bubble- but they don't need to be exposed to a bunch of garbage for no reason.

    now, writing for adults- i just let go... still i worry about offending people- but i often think that people are too easily offended.

    but if i'm going to be totally honest, one of the main reasons i've censored my writing in the past has to do with the very strict beliefs of my religious institution. but i've recently come to the conclusion that i feel strongly about censorship and genuine writing. i believe we do teens a disservice to not prepare them and warn them about the darker aspects of life, and i'm trying to prepare myself for the fall-out i may face for that belief. i hope that makes sense! :)

  2. Yes, when writing YA we have to keep in mind our audience. I believe I have a responsibility to reveal things to teens that they've perhaps never fully thought about, and try to tell an engaging story at the same time.

    However, I see it as a challenge to do so in a way that is NOT offensive, overly violent, or overly sexual. I mean, look at Star Wars. Not much swearing or sex/sensualness in those movies. Sure, they're movies and not books, but the point is, they are immensely popular and gripping WITHOUT having those borderline issues that might offend/cut back their audience.

    I think it's possible. And I'm more comfortable with my own morals and beliefs as a Christian when I don't delve into questionable things. Will it affect my writing? Sure. My characters never swear as direct quotes on the pages, for instance, which is limiting at times and perhaps not as realistic. But hopefully, I can rise to the challenge of creating a great story and reaching teens without compromising my values.

  3. Vic and Carol--You guys both bring up such great points. I'm actually going to post on my feelings regarding what is and what is not appropriate in YA (and how my beliefs affect that decision) on Monday. But I'm so glad you're both bringing it up now! That just goes to show how important it is that we address these things.

  4. I've deliberately chosen to not share some of the music and and such I enjoy on my blog, because it is such a public platform. Because some of the things I find entertaining are not exactly in keeping with my religious values. ("The Internet Is for Porn" and other Avenue Q songs make me giggle.)

    But I do try to explore stuff in my fiction. Where else should I experiment to get a better feel for what I think and believe? However, I do admit there was one story I abandoned because it made me too uncomfortable. It would probably be a great story, but I'm not ready for it yet. Nothing against my values but because of the situation the MC faces.

  5. When I was younger I used to censor scenes that I felt were too "hard" for the story. When I rewrote those stories, I put them back in.
    BUT there are things I write I will never share out of a closed circle of readers who appreciate it - unless I submit them to a couple of specific publishing housed that deal in that genre... M/M love and sex relationships FYI (naughty me!) - although I tend to put some male homosexual characters even in novels... but then I write ADULT fantasy (and one reader, adult and mother, found me "too sensual", another said I put "too much sex" - and I DON'T write erotica, I swear!)! :-D
    Happy writing


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