As fiction writers, sometimes we fall into the trap of everything being permissible when it comes to writing, that the sky is the limit, that we can create build as we wish. We give birth to characters and kill off others.
We can do to our heart’s desire, but is that true? That question has been haunting me for a while. When do we draw the line when it comes to fiction creation, or do we even have to?
During a recent conversation with young Jordanian-Canadian author Sara Badawieh, I asked her about the concept of “airing our dirty laundry” in fiction and if fiction authors should do that in the name of telling an accurate story?
My question came in reference to the domestic violence/honor crime plot in her most recent novel Dalia.
Are we, as authors, specifically as Arab/Jordanian authors, risk empathizing negative stereotypes of Arab men being violent and abusive by writing about these issues? Are we making it worse for the Arab image in the Western media and Western culture?
Or are we staying away from telling an important story by saving ourselves the trouble of getting into a controversial debate or stirring the beehive? What path must we, as fiction authors, take?
I asked this question to my Twitter friends, and I got this answer from communications professional Olamide Francis.
“I think it should be balanced. Say the truth. Point out the good, bad and ugly.”
That was one of the best answers I got on this dilemma.
Tell the truth, but stay balanced. You can watch the whole conversation on my Youtube Channel here.
What are your thoughts? Should fiction authors air dirty laundry?