4th Annual LDS Writer’s Blogfest

I’m participating in the 4th Annual LDS Writer’s Blogfest. Go check out the other participants.

I want to share just a few thoughts with you on what being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints means to me as a person and a writer.

First, watch this video. It’s a poem written by a young woman who is also a member of this church. Just listen to how she speaks about what it means to be a woman.

How can you NOT want to be a part of THAT? I have to be honest and say that I have struggled at times with what I believe to be true and the subject matter of my writing. It seems that no matter how many people I talk with, there remains an even split between the following two thoughts:

  1. You are not your characters and they will do and say things that you would never do. It’s alright because not everyone in the world of books are members of this church (none of mine are).
  2. You are in control of your characters so don’t let them say or do anything that goes against the church standards.

I consider myself to be a “clean” writer when it comes to things like romance and language. However, sometimes my characters tell me things they did or experienced that I have not and will never experience. It doesn’t matter how many times my hubby says, “well just change the story.” THAT is what the story is. I don’t feel like I’m the one making it up. The characters slowly reveal their secrets to me and I have to find the right words to share it with everyone else.

It’s hard.

Sometimes it tears me in two.

Most of the time this is why I stop writing.

I’m not writing things a certain way because I think that’s what will sell. If I was doing that I would have written about vampires and werewolves while they were hot. But I don’t write paranormals. I don’t write explicit sex scenes. But one or two of my characters have said the “D” word.

Somehow hubby has managed to stay with me in spite of that, although he’s terrified I will lose my temple recommend (for those who don’t know that’s a piece of paper that says I’m worthy to enter our temples). If I can find a better way to express the frustration, anger, whatever, then I do. I have some of the cleanest military mouths you will ever find.

Well, I’ve rambled quite a bit and still not solved my problem or even asked the right questions most likely.

What do you think? Are you completely in control of your characters? Do they reflect who you are on all levels? Or do your characters have personalities and lives of their own unrelated to yours?


About charitybradford

Science fiction and fantasy writer and blogger. My first novel is now available--The Magic Wakes (WiDo Publishing, 2013)

Posted on May 20, 2013, in Blogfest. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. My characters have a mind of their own. It can drive me batty at times but when I co-operate it works out.

  2. Writing is an expression of one's self, our experiences, feelings, and goals. Some of their morale boundaries *must* cross over into me…ah, oh wait. I said that wrong. Is that last line a Freudian slip or what. Kinda scary huh.oh well, I digress. There are certain words that I can't use. I don't say them in life and my characters won't say them on the pages of my books. Some might say that I have a hang up about the realities of life. But it is like the books that I prefer to read; urban fantasy with a bit of Epic thrown in to the mix. If I like a certain genre, doesn't it follow that I don't care for certain character traits as well? And instinctively don't give those traits to my characters?

  3. Cleanest military mouths – I don't know, I might be in competition with you on that one.While I kept religion out of my stories (because not everyone believes the way I do) the values are still present. Byron did do a few things that were questionable (mostly off-screen) but I tried to remain true to my own moral compass.I think we each have to find our own balance.

  4. I don't resemble my characters in any way.

  5. Hooray for the LDS Writer Blogfest! Interesting thoughts here. I find that my characters take on a personality all their own, but I am very thoughtful and even prayerful throughout the process.

  6. LOL, that's how I feel too.

  7. True! You have very clean-mouthed military guys. I think that's why I like your style. Good sci fi but I don't get tripped up on all the foul language. Thanks Alex!

  8. πŸ™‚ Maybe inside you do. I think there's an adventurous and courageous hero inside all of us. It's just easier to let our characters do all that stuff.

  9. I live in the right state – but I am a heathen.Having said that, I am in favor of letting my characters do what they will. Tempered of course with my loving hand if they are running too far amuck. "Don't make me get the Editor!!"

  10. I'm with you. There are certain words that my characters will NEVER say even if they think they should. I do draw a line. πŸ˜€ Maybe I let my characters say the D word simply because I have nothing to say. I can't even say shoot! or crap! because hubby doesn't like that. *sigh* Fudgesickle! just doesn't cut it when you're about to be blown to bits. Well, Mal could pull it off, but he had better phrases.

  11. Maybe that's my problem. I just want the voices to stop. πŸ™‚ That sounds like I need professional help of some sort doesn't it?

  12. LOL, hear, hear! I think I'm the same. Personally I think it's funny that hubby has more trouble with the word than he did with one character strangling another to death just for the fun of it.

  13. I like when my characters surprise me. I'm not sure if I'm in control of them or not. I'd like to think not, but I think more often than not I am.My SIL posted on her FB page a couple days ago how to cuss a kid out (via a Rotten eCard): "Shut the fudge up you little astronaut. What the helicopters are you doing? You son of a batch of cookies!"

  14. I find that I can limit the characters only according to how I would myself – at least with regards to language. I'm a convert and sometimes my saucy mouth shows up – hubby rolls his eyes. He's learned to let me figure stuff out on my own, lol. But my characters say a lot of words, the only ones I refuse to type include the one that starts with F and any version of our Heavenly Father's name or our Savior's. That's an actual inability to write it that way. i don't care if my characters would say it or not – in my head they don't. lol. great post! I'm looking for more info on the LDS Blogfest. will find it! thanks

  15. Those are the same words and phrases that my characters won't ever say. So I'm with you! Hope you found the info you were looking for and nice to meet you.

  16. This looks a lot like my post. :)I think the fact that you are struggling with this issue shows you're on the right track. It's when you stop struggling with it that it becomes a problem. *coughorsonscottcard*

  17. I write MG, and so language has not been an issue for me. However, I've been tempted to let my characters run a certain way because it seemed more natural. But if I know I don't want the story to go that way, I find I just have to be more creative to make it work.

  18. I do not control my characters. You have to let them tell their story. That said, I have used "he cursed" or some variation thereof a lot! I actually got in trouble with my latest book because one of the ladies was very spicy. The sad thing is I didn't even realize she was being crude (I grew up in Idaho). Good luck finding the right balance!

  19. Thanks for a viable suggestion for an alternative, Cami! πŸ˜€ It's good to have some options and I'm kicking myself. Why didn't I think of that?

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