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Abandon your Inner Censor

When you write, you must abandon your inner censor.Abandon your Inner Censor

This is especially true when writing the antagonist’s point of view. If you cannot allow yourself to be despicable, how will you write this character?

I have had several people comment to me after reading my books that they wouldn’t want to meet me in a dark alley.
It isn’t me. It’s my characters. And when I get those comments, I know that I have done a good job.

Another place where the inner censor can raise its head and cause stilted writing is in the creation of scenes that involve sex or violence. How much is too much? What is gratuitous, and what is necessary in order to move the story and character development along? It can be tough to tell, especially if the scene is outside your comfort zone.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this scene provoke an emotional reaction?
  • Is it integral to the story. If I delete it will the story be lessened?
  • Is it within the character’s nature to behave that way?
  • Is it important to the character development to keep this scene?
  • Have I gone far enough / too far?

If you find yourself thinking something like this:

  • What will Mom/Dad think when they read this?
  • People are going to think I’m a freak!

It is your inner censor attempting to stilt your creativity. Writing about sex, doesn’t make you a pervert, any more than writing about violent wars makes you a general. The human experience is filled with uncomfortable quirks, and if you are not willing to explore them for the sake of well-rounded, realistic characters, then you are automatically dooming your writing to be mediocre.

To overcome your inner censor, try these exercises:

  • Create a scene that you would normally avoid. Do it again, and again. It will begin to desensitize you to the subject matter.
  • Read how other authors have handled similar scenes for inspiration.