Sometimes characters in stories say, do, or believe things that would be offensive if they happened in real life.
Sometimes the author intends to be offensive. Sometimes the author is trying to make a statement. And maybe sometimes they don’t even realize what they’ve done.
Readers have the option of putting down the book if they find they’re offended by the ideas it contains, or possibly celebrates.
Most writers, myself included, are probably OK with that to some extent. Not every reader will get me. Not everyone who picks up my book will be my perfect reader. On the other hand, I don’t ever want to unintentionally chase away readers who should be my fans. So what responsibility do I have as an author when presenting potentially offensive ideas? And, on the flip side of that coin, when I encounter offensive ideas in my reading, how do I handle that?
On member was looking for advice while beta reading for a fellow writer. She found the main characters off-putting, and was bothered by the shallow caricature set up as the antagonist. How could she address the offensiveness of her friend’s writing, without creating a real-life offense in the process? How do others handle difficult subjects and offensive material without losing readers? All members are welcome to login and join the conversation.