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UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

October 23, 2019

Have you ever run across the situation where you wrote something and then someone pointed out to you that you just said or implied something off the wall, or something you never intended?

I know I just said something three times within the same sentence, which in this case, was intentional, but more to my point, what if it was unintentional?

Since this is my article and I just brought it up, I’ll be the sacrificial lamb and use myself as the perfect example.

A PERFECT EXAMPLE

This is not a blatant plug, but why not?

In my latest work in progress, Across The Endless Sea, which is the third Meleena’s Adventures fantasy novel, I referred to a particular tome as “fake.”

During the course of the story, I referred to this “fake” book multiple times.

At one reading critique session, one of the reviewers pointed out to me that given it’s a fantasy world, and while it IS my own creation where the word “fake” could be a part of the local lingo, there’s another issue. With real-world events taking place today, the word could be construed as a political slur, or a political comment or maybe even hint at my political leanings.

While some in the group considered that a stretch, myself included, at least at first, I had to think about that one.

I’ve been using the word fake for over sixty years. It’s been a part of my language a loooong time. Only recently has that word been thrust to the forefront by the national news. Should I let that force me to delete it from my arsenal of useful words?

Then I had to pause and consider the consequences.

The last thing I want to do is give my readers the impression I lean one way or the other politically. Those that know me personally know where I stand, but I don’t want to alienate my audience and any potential readers by imposing any political, religious or sexual beliefs on them. I just hate when celebrities or non-political personalities do that.

Therefore, here come the unintended consequences. This harmless little word, “fake” has been hijacked by recent media. While I still personally find a wide array of uses for it, because of the political implications, I don’t want to give the impression to anyone that I lean one way or the tuther.

Therefore I’m changing this “politically charged” word to something else (undecided yet) and adding a new word to Meleena’s world. If somehow this new word isn’t right for normal fantasy, well it IS now for Meleena’s world and just tough if it doesn’t fit the genre. I bend it enough as it is and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone!

YOUR UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

This can be a single word like mine, a character, a plot or sub-plot.

What you intend and what comes out, you may have a blind eye to until a second set of eyes or maybe third of fourth sets of eyes look at it and tells you what you don’t see.

The thing is, what do you do about it?

Are you going to change things, or defy everyone?

Are these consequences hurtful or just something different? Are they something you might find as a happy accident? Or, will they change the entire outcome of your story?

Will changing things change your direction, or keep them the same and make things better? Worse?

SECOND AND MORE SETS OF EYES

I repeat this over and over again.

There’s nothing more important that multiple sets of eyes.

You can’t always see the forest through the trees.

Someone else may need to help you see the “fake” out there for you.

SUMMARY

I could just as easily have left things be and not worried about it. However, as my fellow critiquers suggested, as far out as that fake word may be in today’s world, it might give someone the impression I either support or am making fun of certain people in power. That’s the last thing I want to do. In fact, the last thing I want to do is even make people think of what’s going on in today’s world…at all. The whole point of going into Meleena’s world is to, for a little while, forget about today and drift off into a fantasy world.

Hopefully, those of you that are fiction writers want to do the same thing…well…most of you.

Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. B.T. Economy permalink
    October 24, 2019 8:01 pm

    WOW! You know my thing is writing about politics, propaganda, influence and cultural trends. I’m back to working on my book, The Power of Words (not a blatant plug either, lol), so this post really got my attention.

    I must say, in my humble opinion, that the critique is not only a stretch, but a lonnnng one. If you were to use the phrase “fake news” that’s one thing… if you claimed the tome was “fake news.” But “fake”? No! That’s seriously overthinking.

    Perhaps I needed to ‘be there’ to hear your reading, but my first reaction to this post is that it’s the strangest thing I’ve heard yet.

    Thanks for sharing. Super interesting! 😉

    • October 25, 2019 1:25 am

      B.T.,

      I pretty much agree it’s a stretch, but if one person (actually several in the group) thought of it, other readers might, so I took the proactive step because what the heck, I wasn’t going to lose any sleep over changing the word that much! The book is still unfinished, so I have plenty of time to figure out what to use. I’ve got some ideas. Maybe I’ll come up with something much better anyway. Thanks for the feedback! Fred

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