Saturday, July 14, 2012

Guest Post by JD Savage - The Mom Filter

I'm very excited to have +JD Savage as a guest on my blog; part of +Literary+'s blog tour. JD is the author of The Seeds, an exciting story that takes place in the realm of fairies. I'm currently reading it now; my motivation to get on my exercise machine every day. Yes, it's that good. ;)

Today, JD discusses a topic that I've dealt with personally. 

                                    The Mom Filter
                          Writing So Others Don’t Judge

I spend a lot of time online. I check my Google Plus feed constantly. I check Facebook a few times a day. Even Twitter gets a look once or twice. As much as I like to simply lurk around and see what people are posting, I do feel compelled to comment now and then. When I do, I try to follow one simple rule. Don’t write anything that I wouldn’t want to appear, credited to me, on a billboard outside of my Mom’s house. It goes back to the lessons of childhood. The over-arching rule was to be conscious of what you do and say because it all reflects on your family.

It sounded like nonsense when I was a kid. Now that I have kids of my own, I realize that it’s true.

So that’s fine for online posting, but what about writing for real? Am I supposed to temper my speech? Do I need to rework that sentence so that it doesn’t contain a swear word? No! I’m a grown -up. I can write whatever I want. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it!

Well, that’s easy to say, but for some people, this can be one of those questions that pop up when you least expect it. You may have emboldened yourself to write about a controversial topic, but how close to the bone can you get without really offending someone who knows you? Maybe your Grandpa will be a bit put out to hear that a character that sounds a lot like him is the pedophile that drives your protagonist to the edge. Maybe your Aunt will feel a bit flustered when your character’s Aunt robs that liquor store to pay for her meth habit. Or maybe the ladies at church are simply unprepared to learn that you really write hard core porn.

Don’t try to write so that others don’t judge. It can’t be done. That’s what ‘others’ do. They judge. But, there is a secret to dealing with this unpleasant reality. Any time someone makes a snide or hurtful comment, not on how you write but what you write, tell them to kiss your ass.  Not too forceful, not too wishy-washy, this little nugget has helped me deflect more than once the slings and arrows of those I’ve offended. Sure, you’re burning bridges, but did you really want to go back to Uptightville?

Bill Cosby said it best. ”I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

You can’t please everyone. It’s impossible. You’re just going to have to try to please yourself. Make your story the best YOU think it can be. Somebody will still hate it, but that’s a given, no matter how great it is. I hated Moby Dick. I thought it was the most boring, drawn out yawn-fest ever to be celebrated as one of the greatest novels in human existence. I can hear Melville’s Mom now, “Did you have to make Ishmael so wordy, Darling? And why did he have to describe every fishhook on the boat?” And his reply, “Mother, you may kiss my posterior region, that which is just below my belt, but behind me. To be any other way would be too strange a case to make, for it would be unseemly to suggest any other course and I am extremely wordy!”

Ok, I hear you. I hear you saying, “But, what if it’s my Mom!? I can’t burn that bridge!” Ok, ok. Granted, there are some people you have to stay on the good side of, be it for familial love, respect or the possibility of inheritance.  If that’s the case, warn them before the book comes out. “Now, Mom, I gotta tell ya. There may be a few things in this that might sound a little coarse. You’re just going to have to trust me that it was necessary for the story.” If she’s anything like my Mom, that little bit of confidence you just shared will turn her from a pursed-lipped magistrate into your biggest defender. “My son/daughter, the visionary!” she’ll cry, before punching the lady who made that face when your name came up. Be prepared for the follow-up call, too. “She thought she was going to tell me what’s what! Well, I showed her!”

So, for most other people, tell them that you’re not sorry for what you do, and they can kiss your… well, you know. Give Mom a heads-up on your next work. Ask her advice. You’ll be able to turn her loose on the next reviewer who pans your work.

About The Seeds and its author:

This is not your grandmother's fairy tale. A fantasy novel that turns the genre on its head, "The Seeds" follows Trooper Angus Mayweather as he is thrust into the conflict faced by twin sisters Dartura & Varia, Generals of the Tarol Nation. As the sisters uncover a new threat from an old enemy, Angus must do what he can to help as the Tarol Nation faces all-out war.

Where to buy: The Seeds
Writer's Blog: Tarol Nation
G+ profile: JD Savage


  1. Brilliant advice - which doesn't just cover what you write. A lot of folk have been telling me the same damn thing about how I do L+.

    At the end of the day, we're writers. We have to write what calls to us and what we really feel. I'd never show mum my erotica or hard-horror. But, I have to be true to myself in writing them.

  2. I was more worried about coming out as a writer at work than home (my Mum does betaing for me). I have friends who write fanfic, who *have* to keep themselves anonymous when they write, because of the job they're in and the fact that they write slash. However, I have always posted very much in line with your suggestion at the top, JD, I never post anything on the internet that I wouldn't be prepared to stand behind, be it comments on a blog, or work I've published. Whether the item is flocked on LJ, privately posted on G+, open to world and for sale on Amazon, or in an email to a co-worker, I never, ever commit anything through the keyboard that I would mind the world seeing.

    Good advice JD :)

  3. Thank you for stopping by, JD. This is great advice, especially about speaking directly to our moms. I'm fortunate that my mom is pretty easy-going, but I still told her that I wouldn't really recommend she read my one novel, but if she did to understand the deeper message in there. I don't know if she's ever read it or not; she's never said.

  4. Great advice again, JD! I'm loving your blog tour. I can't believe it's almost over. So many pearls of wisdom. This one will be handy to remember if my mum ever asks can she read something I wrote... Now, I don't swear like a sailor in my writing, but I never swear in front of my parents. So it'd be weird for her to read that sort of stuff... nevermind anything else!