I find it amusing that my 2nd book, “Origins”, from The Fullerton Chronicles series is being censored for questionable content and has been removed from several online retailers, including Apple’s iBook store, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
It is ironic because, the main character in the first three books has an issue with people swearing. He encourages his friends and associates to work at curtailing the usage of expletives, but not because he finds it vulgar.
He dislikes curse words because he finds them lazy….
“They could be in possession of a majestic beauty, but as soon as their mouth betrayed them of the ignorance they’d chosen to allow into their dialect, the allure quickly turned into a repellant.” –David Harmon (from “The Room” Copyright 2016 Brian C. Copper)
Spoilers: David has this opinion because he was in an accident that nearly resulted in him losing the ability to speak. He is so grateful of regaining the gift of words that he tries to make others appreciate the gift as well.
While I was writing the chapters that eventually became my first book, there was an inner dialog going on about content. Was I crossing a line with this particular plot point ? Or, was I going too far with this scene ?
Ultimately, the answer to myself to those types of questions was: No. I, as a writer, should challenge the reader. Take them to the edges of their comfort zone and hold their hand as I help them step outside of it, however briefly, have a look or two, and then bring them back safely afterwards.
If an author merely coddles the audience, the resultant “art” quickly becomes boring and stagnant.
Throughout our history as a species, we have been guided along many paths that were previously unexplored. Sometimes, those journeys made us uncomfortable, but, often, they helped to make us examine what it was about the “taboo” aspects of the words, plots, and character arcs, that were previously considered outside the realm of “acceptable”.
The book of mine in question contains a scene where one character is explaining to another character a dark moment of his past. It is not presented to be “sensational”. Rather, it is an integral part of this character’s psychological behavior. It gives his story arc depth that would be otherwise lacking. It creates a deep bond between the two characters for having revisited this previously undisclosed traumatic event together.
Most people aren’t going to read my books anyway, since they mainly deal with adult gay men exploring elements of the BDSM and fetish communities. I accept the limitations these topics place on the audience.
What I can’t tolerate is an entity silencing creativity.
When I was publishing my words, as part of the process I was asked if there was “Adult Content”. Yes, indeed there is. Quite a bit of it, to be exact.
That should be enough for the reader to determine if they care to venture down the pathways I’ve constructed.
When we begin to place distinct limitations on certain segments of some of those fictional journeys, we are crossing into dangerous territory.
It begins on the fringe. Censoring an indie author that most people have never heard of. It barely makes a ripple in the big pond.
But how soon before it spirals outward, swallowing up other authors and other fictional travels into the world of words ?
As a reader, I don’t mind being told about questionable content. Please, let me know I am in for an adventure. One full of ups, downs and twisting loops. But, don’t shut down the entire amusement park because someone else felt uncomfortable when the ride was over.
Support Indie Authors. Help them as they find their voice.
Fight Censorship. Always. Label “Questionable Content”, but don’t eradicate it.
When our brains are only allowed to consume simple ideas, we are teaching ourselves to have simple thoughts.
Do yourself a favor and step outside of your own comfort zone once in a while.
Brian C. Copper
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