The Brave Author — syndicated post from @JeanNicole19

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The following is syndicated from the blog of JeanNicole Rivers and is posted here with permission.

The brave author is not afraid to allow their characters to speak their minds regardless of how bigoted, prejudice, psychopathic, sadistic or self-righteous that mind is in the moment. I am not a brave author, not yet. Our most beloved characters are always the strongest characters. Some are strong with good and love and some are strong with bad and hate and any variety of concepts and emotions in between, nonetheless they are strong. The brave author is not afraid of letting his character call people n*gg*rs or fatties or any other long list of derogatory names that we hear bestowed upon a particular group of people. The brave author is not afraid of allowing her characters to trample the name of God or partake in heinous activity that the average person would shun outright and completely. I am not a brave author.

Brave authors are important because they are not afraid to show us the world through the eyes of people who are different from ourselves, even through the eyes of those we don’t want to see it through sometimes. We must see the world with the view of those we dislike, hate or even despise because the more perspective we have, the closer we are to truth, whether we end up liking the truth or not. Soon people will get tired of hearing what a particular author has to say, but they will never get tired of reading your words if they are the words of the characters. A book is not a puppet show, it is not different characters speaking the words, beliefs and thoughts of the writer, that is boring and that is futile. A book is a séance; it is the character speaking through the author who acts only as a medium.

I silence my characters sometimes, like an all knowing mother silencing a free child that is apt to do nothing more harmful than speak his/her mind. I silence my characters sometimes because I don’t want them to hurt anyone or be too offensive and this is wrong, it is something that I am learning and something that I am changing. Becoming an author is a journey, not a destination. I silence my characters not only because I don’t want them to hurt anyone too badly or be too offensive, but because I don’t want to either. I don’t want readers to look at me and wonder if those less than savory thoughts and feelings are mine, but as an author, I must be selfless and take that chance. If I place my hand over the mouths of my characters, I do my readers no justice.

Don’t silence your characters, do not attempt to control them; they are alive and free. Just the same as you can’t control the living, walking, breathing people that you encounter in your life every day, you can’t control your characters either and when you try it ends the same way that it would in real life, boring and/or worse, disastrous.

I am not a brave author, not yet.