POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AND THE INDEPENDENT AUTHOR
Do independent authors need to be concerned about being politically correct in their writing? Or does anything go if they’re writing fiction?
The short answer is that you can’t be too careful. In fiction, it may be realistic to have a character who spouts politically incorrect statements. But do it too much and you could be offending some of your readers. In description, stay away from anything the least bit offensive.
I do understand that sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the latest terminology. Be aware that is easy to inadvertently say the wrong thing. In researching my second book, I discovered that it’s no longer correct to say a person is an albino: That person has albinism. Do your homework when in doubt.
It’s safest to avoid getting involved in anything political or possibly offensive to minority groups while you’re on social networks. Fiction authors work hard to build an audience. It’s a daunting task, sometimes taking years; you can’t afford to put anyone off.
Tips to stay out of trouble with your readers.
1. Limit any politically incorrect commentary to character dialogue, and only if it’s necessary to the story. Limit it to one character, one who is unsympathetic.
2. In any descriptive passages, remain neutral.
3. When uncertain, do your research.
4. Keep your social networking social—avoid anything political.
5. When in doubt, leave it out.
None of us wants to offend a reader, even with a well-intended comment. I’ve had the advantage of being in a critique group with a person who was very politically correct. I was called to the carpet on things I thought were just factual, but could have been interpreted the wrong way. I learned to rewrite it or leave it out without any problem in the storyline.
I hope all of you are finding time to enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve been having here in the Midwest.