Should we be afraid to write what we want? When posed this question, I would imagine most authors would say a resounding “No!” Authors tend to hate censorship and believe the publish should decide with their wallets/purses what is or isn’t good instead of a governing body. What if instead the governing body is a public looking to be offended?
This is a topic I’ve explored before, but it is still very much relevant. In fact, as time goes by it seems that this discussion must continue for us authors to have amongst each other and with readers. Over the last few years there has been more and more backlash against comedians. If an author, movie, or TV series makes a statement even slightly offensive hordes of people lash out on social media.
The Twitter outrage mob has become the modern pearl-clutching Puritans. As a result, creative people have either leaned into it and say what’s on their mind or strive to be offensive for the sake of it, or cower away and change the entire structure of their stories.
This may be an uncommon opinion, but who cares what Twitter thinks? Many of these people voicing outrage aren’t fans of the object of their wrath anyway, and I would wager some of them haven’t even watched or read the thing they are upset about anyway. Something goes viral and people just jump onto the bandwagon. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Avoiding Twitter is easy, just turn it off. After a couple days the outrage mob will have moved on to another “controversy.”
Part of being in a free society is having the right to be offended and to offend. Not everyone is going to like what you think/say/believe. No matter how benign it may be, there will be someone out there who thinks you are terrible for holding such a view. Does it matter? Well, if the viewpoint is truly abhorrent then, yes, such as believing it is okay to take innocent life indiscriminately. That is an extreme example of an extreme view and most “outrage” occurs over far more trivial views.
So, write what you will. That may mean you need to pursue self-publishing instead, but so be it. Write the story you’re called to write.