I write about fucked up things. Dark twisted sexual things. Rape. Murder. Torture. Of course I write about admirable things too. Bravery, love, autonomy, integrity. But this post isn't about admirable things, or nice things, or comfortable things.
Why am I telling you this? Because I think the conversation about what should be in books has devolved to the point where a certain group is insisting that the "PC police" are out to censor and sanitize books. There's some truth to that. Some people really do want to micromanage and control what you put in your stories, and that ain't cool. But here's the thing, and here's my promise to my readers and potential readers as an author:
I may offend you with my writing. It may be too sexual for you, too morally ambiguous. It might be disgusting, explicit, and at the bare minimum uncomfortable. But what I will my damndest to avoid is offending you because my writing includes unexamined biases that go unchallenged by the narrative.
And really, I think that's what most readers want. Sure, push their boundaries. Or in my rough around the edges parlance, write some fucked up shit and tug your readers along for the ride. But at least when you read my stories, you hopefully won't have to deal with a black supporting character with no story of their own, who dies in the first three chapters. Or a Native who stands around in a loincloth saying How! and educating the white protagonist about loving nature. There won't be a gay best friend who only exists to prop up the straight female main character. Yes, I love to take tropes and twist them, but lord deliver me from writing these sorts of cut outs as legit.
The next part of my promise is this: if there's a problematic element in one of my stories, it will be intentional to the best of my abilities. Yes, I have privileges and even though I have done a lot of work around them sometimes I'm sure some unintentional bias will slip in to my novels. But at least you can rest assured that I've done my due diligence. I've done the research. If it's there, it's very likely that it's meant to be there, and usually it will be dismantled by the end.
I will do my level best to tell you the story I want and need to tell in an honest manner, while also avoiding the slog through unexamined stereotypes so much media forces us all to confront. People want to make this so much more complicated than it is, but that's the long and short of it. Write honestly but elevate your work above the obvious.
Let's shake on it, okay?