I posted a while ago about reconciling differences. As an author, I have my own personal beliefs about a variety of situations that characters could face, ways that characters might think, etc. (You can find that original post here.)
Now, as I sit down and really look at my story When the Star Fell (formerly titled Lodestar), I find myself faced with a question.
Do I want this work to be associated with me?
It brings to mind Warren Buffett’s advice from that school visit I talked about before on the blog. (Find those posts here, here, and here.) In the video, he’s asked, “How do you instill ethical leadership through your corporation? How do you know the management below you is making parallel decisions?”
His reply was the newspaper test. Imagine that the decision you’re making is going to be reported on the next day by a less-than-friendly newspaper reporter. All your friends and family are going to see it. Are you good with the decision, imagining that scenario? If not, make a different decision.
Am I comfortable with what’s in the story? Am I, being an active member of my church, comfortable with the situations I’ve put my characters through? Am I comfortable with the fact that I’ve written dialogue with the occasional (very occasional) curse word? Am I comfortable with every word on those pages?
And I’m not so sure I am.
Are you comfortable with your words as a representation of you?
(To be fair, I do realize that my book isn’t me. But people can get judgmental sometimes. And I know that we have to be true to the characters, but doesn’t that also mean we can create characters that don’t behave in those ways that make us most uncomfortable?)