Friday, April 3, 2015

Quills: Is Violence By or Against Women in Fantasy Authentic?


Author of Oathtaker
Patricia's Website

The world has changed dramatically, even since I was a child, with regard to the place of women in our society and the options open to them. I’ve experienced the changes and benefitted from them. Still, I recognize that these changes occurred largely in the “western” world, that portion historically influenced by a Judeo-Christian ethic. Women in many other places have not been as fortunate as have I. In some cases, they live in what might be called “medieval” times. This is an important issue, as many fantasies are played out in medieval-type worlds. Accordingly, I expect that the manner in which women are treated in those stories might well differ from the world in which I live today. Even so, fantasy stories are set in make-believe worlds. Those worlds can be whatever the authors want them to be . . .

(Read Patricia's blog!)


Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories
Robin's Website

Fantasy and sci-fi—No, fiction authors (at least those I know) write to entertain. We write about people. People, both men and women, are often violent, cruel, abusive, and criminally selfish. Our world has a long history of them, from Cain to Bashar-al Assad, from Jezebel to Griselda Blanco. Fictional worlds are rife with them as well…

(Read Robin's blog!)


Author of the short story Sanguis Dei 
and the poetry collection Light and Dark 

My colleagues have made an important distinction that readers used to know without being told. Has that changed? Maybe. In a world where people often have a hard time distinguishing between fantasy and reality, we may need a "DISCLAIMER: No actual humans were harmed in the writing of this novel!" announcement on every book.

Admittedly, readers do, occasionally, get lost in a story so deeply that they believe it with their whole heart. I'll let you in on a little secret: writers like for that to happen. We are eager for it, hungry for it! Our main goal is to make you, the reader, feel.

I could write about Mikkayl Arrayn and Sherakai without a single unfortunate event ever happening to them, but as lovely as that might be for them, you wouldn't want to read it! Does this mean I advocate real world violence against anyone? By no means! Since the Fall from Grace every person is on a collision course with our destiny which is, quite frankly, death before judgement. The struggles to live a life worthy of the calling to redemption are the very heartbeat of the human race, whatever your faith bias. Thus, stories that show the struggle of blood, sweat and tears strike a chord that vibrates to the soul.

Violence against characters in fiction IS authentic, even necessary, as it reflects our world. This does not justify graphic, gory violence that does not reveal character flaws and strengths. It must have purpose or it is superfluous. I like to think that I write with moderation. I write for adults, as well, not children. Children should never, ever be subjected to violence and their reading should be guided by those who ought to know and love them best: their parents. That is another topic! The human imagination is a marvelous thing. A little description goes a long way, thus violence against anyone in fiction need only be hinted at by the talented writer's choice to give a character a haunted look here, a flinch from a touch there.

It is my firm belief that we cannot fully appreciate what we have achieved until we know what obstacles we have overcome.

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely said! Moderation is the key, and yes, a talented writer can *suggest* all kinds of wonderful details without actually, graphically describing them. (And I like the idea of the disclaimer. Stealing it!)