Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Being a responsible writer

Been working on a particular story pitch for Doctors off and on since Christmas. I never normally take so long to work an idea up into the requisite two page synopsis, but something about this story has defied a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am approach. I won't get into specifics, but it revolves around a condition that destroys lives and can lay waste to entire families.

Maybe it was a mistake to watch a lot of YouTube videos featuring sufferers of this disease, but I needed to see its effects for myself. Writing should come from a place of truth, no matter how much that may hurt. Once I'd see what happens to victims of this disease, my story stopped being a matter of plot points and structural conundrums. Truth trumps fiction, you might say.

As writers we have the power of life and death over our characters [at least, we do until other voices get attached to a project]. Telling a good story well is what we do. But we have another responsibility - to tell the truth about our world, no matter how ugly or unhappy it might be. Hopefully I can do justice to my subject with this pitch - time will tell. Onwards!

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