So, earlier this week I tossed myself face first into the creative well when I decided to try an experiment; recording through blog posts the creation of a manuscript from beginning to end. Yes, I know I’m early with this first post, but my brain was in overdrive and I had to start writing before it exploded. And frankly–do you know how difficult it is to get brain matter off a laptop’s keyboard?
Any who…back to the subject of this experiment.
The Cottage is the tentative title of the manuscript in question this experiment involves. Said manuscript is a LGBT paranormal thriller involving the unsolved case of a murdered family and a horror novelist who purchases the murder house 50 years later (unknowingly) after a devastating loss a year before the beginning of the story.
In my travels as a struggling writer I’ve heard a number of opinions on the subject of prologues. Some writer’s dislike them, others have no problem with them. I’m of the latter mindset. The Cottage begins with a prologue set in 1962 on a hot June night in the fictional town of Jericho, Mississippi. This is where the realism and political correctness of the subject of this post come in.
History is history folks and I prefer a realistic tone for any story I write. As a writer there is a desire for the reader to take me serious, providing a story (no matter the genre) that the reader can believe on a basic human level. To get there I feel there is a need to use language some might find offensive. Think about that for a second. If the stage for the story is to be set honesty with the historical context of the story is a requirement–isn’t it? Considering both the place and time frame of the prologue you as the reader may understand where this is leading.
The prologue for The Cottage is not only set in the Deep South, but the Deep South of 1962 and reveals the genesis of the story through the eyes of a young African-American girl. Set up to give the reader a first glimpse of Jericho and characters who are revisited throughout the story and as the writer accuracy in their portrayal is important to me. That means some language which was commonplace in that era (and unfortunately is still around) needs to be used to set the emotional and historical stage.
As the writer and a person in general, I find said language distasteful and vulgar, but I also know for the believability of the story to resonate with the reader it cannot be avoided. This particular era was in the middle of the Civil Rights movement; a time of violence and anger for people who were beginning to find their voices after decades of oppression simply because of the color of their skin. The reactions and actions of the characters introduced in this short prologue are needed to understand the mystery that unfolds within the context of the story.
So, what I need to hear from potential readers are some straightforward opinions on whether political correctness should infringe on the realism of a story. Should a writer be concerned about offensive language when it is historically correct? Or should a writer be faithful to their vision and to the era of the piece in question?
I’d love to hear from anyone out there with an opinion–readers and writers alike.
Until Later…Blessed Be