Wednesday, October 6, 2021

#IWSG Language and Other Topics

Update on my world:
I have lost a lot of friends and family during 2020 and 2021.

Last month, one of my cousins died. And then another family died a week later. I wasn't as close with that person, but for whatever reason, I absolutely lost it. Maybe a guy can only take so many deaths before he cracks. I don't know. But I've been mostly offline for over a week because of it. I missed my last blog post at OA, I'm behind on book reviews, etc. I'm mentally and emotionally overloaded and just trying to recover. Please bear with me as I try to deal. 

WEP is coming!

I have a pile of notes that I intend to turn into a short story for WEP later this month. Please check it out and consider joining the fun. About the October prompt, quoted from the site:
The Scream by Edvard Munch was a shoo-in for October - this challenge is devoted to the horror genre in honour of the Halloween/Samhain/observances of the other world spirits. Go as creepy as you like. But other genres are welcome too, there’s no genre police here, except that non-negotiable no to erotica.


Shout-out to Alex and the awesome co-hosts for today: Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner (THAT'S ME!), Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

October 6 question -

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?


What? I don't know that I've ever really thought about this.
I don't write stories that portray my fellow Native Americans in a poor or biased light. (There are hundreds of 🎬🤠➷ Classic Western movies where the "Indians" are default villains.) And I'll never write about child abusers in a positive way. (I've seen some *things* that I wish I could unsee.)
As for language, I prefer to avoid language that marginalizes people. (Then again, sometimes characters say things, and it opens a chance for them to grow or it shows that they're villains.) 

Over at Operation Awesome, Pass or Pages is open. Query letters are given directly to the participating agents. Entries THIS WEEK ONLY! The genre this time is Diverse Voices.

Please 💗 like and share this tweet to help fellow writers!


  1. Hi! I'm sorry to hear about all the losses you've been through lately. It has been a hard time. I hope it gets better from here.
    Yeah - showing child abusers in a good light is not something I would do either. I didn't think of that when I wrote my blog post.
    Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month.

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  2. Glad you are here with us today. I hope things get better. The WEP looks like a good one. I hope to see your story!

  3. Very sorry you have lost so many. Thoughts and prayers with you.
    Thanks for co-hosting today.

  4. So sorry for your losses. It's good you took a little time off to deal with your grief and loss. Thanks for co-hosting this month. And good luck on your new short story.

  5. First, sorry for your loss. Sending healing vibes.
    My hard line is the use euphemism to gloss over hard fast truths. Thank you for co-hosting, and Happy IWSG Day!

  6. So sorry about your loss. Prayers for you. Thank you for co-hosting. If I'm uncomfortable about reading something I am certainly uncomfortable writing about it.

  7. I'm so sorry for all your losses. I understand how you felt overloaded. It happened to me, too. I'll share the advice a Hospice counselor gave me--take time to grieve. Take as much time as you need. Don't rush. Thanks for cohosting this month.

  8. My deepest condolences, J. The last couple of deaths of friends and family has hit me particularly hard, too. I think it's because we're in a pandemic and it has become the default news we receive about loved-ones. As for lines not to cross in writing: I agree with your list :-)

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day as co-host The IWSG Goodreads Book Club

  9. I lost a dear friend last week to cancer. It's never easy. But I understand how you feel. We lost 4 family members in 1996. A long time ago, yes, but the pain is still there. Take care of yourself.

  10. So sorry for your losses. I hope things get better--I have lost friends and family to covid, and it has been hard. The WEP looks like a good one. I'm planning to participate this time, and hope to read your story!

  11. Hi,
    I like the statement: I prefer to avoid language that marginalizes people.
    Thank you for co-hosting.

    All the best.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  12. So sorry about your loss. Yeah, there are certain things that don't deserve to be portrayed positively. I can't stomach those stories that do. Thanks for co-hosting!

  13. I do also pretty much hate disrespectful books, be it to other cultures or animals. Luckily, in my series, being prehistoric fiction, the era is such that animals and humans are equal, or humans inferior. I like that conundrum.

  14. I am so sorry to hear about the losses in your family, and I so understand how devastating even one can be, so several has to be overwhelming.

    You might be interested in reading the post I did for IWSG this month on re-spelling, because in my mind, that's one way to disrespect a social class, a culture or ethnic group. I'd love your opinion.

  15. p.s. I forgot to thank you for co-hosting today!

  16. Sorry to hear of your bereavements, J. Yes, it drains you, and each leaves a hole in your being that you think will never heal. So don't be surprised you feel drained, and give yourself time.

    I've been panicking over my WEP for months, and wrote it yesterday. It just suddenly all worked itself out. :)

    And did you realised that last time we co-hosted we were together - with the other same awesome people? Wow!



  17. I'm sorry life threw you a curveball. It's hard to write, or do much of anything, when life hits you hard. I hope you fell more like yourself soon.

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

  18. Dear J, cyberhugs to you. May your losses become vibrant points of light in your heart. May you know you're not alone. Bless your heart for co-hosting anyway.
    I appreciate your take on the IWSG question. A good reminder that it isn't what you write, it's HOW you say it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Excellent answer to today's question. I would add child abuse as something I wouldn't write about either.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month!
    Mary at Play off the Page

  20. Also, sending love healing as you process your grief. Your voice as a writer is important. Keep writing and sharing your stories.

  21. I'm sorry to hear about your recent losses.
    I look forward to reading your October WEP story.

  22. Hi, JLD. I'm sorry to hear that you have lost family members. These past two years have been difficult, and we're all struggling with an overload of stress, dislocation, and grief. May the memories of your loved ones fill you with happiness. I didn't know that you were Native American. When I was a kid in eastern Canada, I liked shows like "Rin Tin Tin" and "Wagon Train." I knew nothing about colonialism and the tragic history of Indigenous people in the Americas. Then my family moved to an Ojibwa-Cree village west of James Bay when I was ten. That experience shattered my gentle and secure view of the world. I hope I never write anything that disparages any culture, but especially that of First Nation/Native American peoples. Thanks for co-hosting today!

  23. I'm so sorry you're going through so much loss this year. My prayers for strength and peace.

  24. Sorry for all your loss, this has been a difficult time. My father passed in April. Take time to heal.

    Good luck on your WEP.

  25. Thank you for sharing. It has been rough and you need to time to heal. I lost a friend to Covid in November, my husband died in December, and my step-father died in February. And yet, I expect so much of myself. Why do we do this? Peace and love to you. Thanks for co-hosting today.

  26. Firstly, I'm terribly sorry to learn of your losses. Grief is so tough to experience, I'm glad you decided to take a little time for yourself.

    Despite all you've been going through, you've raised some really thought provoking aspects of language use that I'd not considered in my take on this question.

  27. I'm so sorry to hear about the dear loss of your loved ones. It's been an awful year - I think worse than last year. I hope you're being gentle with yourself and doing something that gives you joy every now and then. Found you through the IWSG blog hop. Thank you for co-hosting. My "drawing the line" is more - will this spark an interest in the reader, not necessarily the same boundaries as many are talking about here. I too have had a harder time writing this year due to the sadness and political junk going on.

  28. It's been a year and a half of losses. When it hits close to home, that's tragic and I feel for you. You and this world needs to heal. Take Care.

    Thank you for Co-hosting.

  29. Sorry to hear of your losses. Thank you for co-hosting today.

    "As for language, I prefer to avoid language that marginalizes people."
    This resonated with me, as I was thinking about the same in a character I recently wrote, who was using ableist language. She was herself very unaware of her thoughts, words and actions, and I realised that it was okay to show this 'wrong' thing as long as it had consequences (it did: her friend stopped talking to her) and realisation/change (in the end). Bottom line: only use such language if you are fully aware of why, make sure to challenge it, and can explain why you chose to use it to others.

  30. Thank you for co-hosting IWSG this month. I wish you strength and peace with regard to the people you have lost.

  31. One of the best decision i ever made was contacting Dr Otonokpo to help me get my lover back, I was life filled with happiness after i contacted Dr Otonokpo because he didn't just bring my lover back to me he also made our love for each other more unique and superb. If you need to spice your relationship with more love and attention contact Dr Otonokpo on his Email Address, call/whatsapp him via his contact +2348114129781 and be happy just like i am, thanks Dr Otonokpo for your great work.

  32. So sorry to hear of your loss. You are in my prayers. Breathe. Care for yourself. Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG question. All best to you!

  33. I'm so sorry for your losses. Loss upon loss is so hard.

    Great answer to this month's question!

  34. I'm sorry the losses in your life have hit you so hard. It's been a rough couple of years.

    Your point about a character using a derogatory word so that they can later show growth hits on a good point. It's not just about questionable content but how characters view it or change in regard to it. That's something I feel is overlooked in these discussions. For me it's not about whether a book deals with slavery, for example, but how the MCs treat the slaves or the issue of slavery.

    Thanks for co-hosting and thanks for visiting my blog.

  35. Sorry for your loss. I've heard the following passage before, that 'God will not give you more than you can handle,' but not a believer in that. Such loss upon loss can be too much. Sending hugs.
    I give violence against women and children a hard pass.
    Thanks for co-hosting.


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