Saturday, 12 November 2011

Shay Fabbro - Guest Post

This is one busy week at Dag-Lit Central. I'm pleased to announce my third guest for the week, the Queen of Squee herself, the amazing Shay Fabbro.

Today Shay is going to talk about the things authors should or shouldn't put in their novels. And she's giving you a chance to win a copy of her ebook "The Chosen".

So without any further ado, over to Shay.

What should and should not be put into novels

For today’s post I thought I would tackle the issue of what authors should or should not be obligated to put in their novels. A lot of this is going to be more relevant to only certain genres but I hope this post will give authors something to chew over.

The idea for this post has been brewing for quite some time, mainly because of reading other random things on blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. The purpose of this isn’t to offend anyone, although logic and simple statistics says that I will most likely offend at least a few people but that’s a chance we all take every time we open our mouths or write something down, isn’t it?

This first is something I actually saw on FB earlier in the week and found it fascinating. It’s a subject that I find to be a little uncomfortable to approach. When I have to teach reproduction in my freshman biology classes I have such terrible anxiety that I will break out into giggles when I have to say certain words or that I will stutter when I say them. Anyone see Scrubs? Elliot Reed and her total terror of saying sex words? That’s me, only not as dramatic ;)

Anyway, the topic of sex in books has been something that most authors have struggled with, unless they write in a genre that uses that, like romance or erotica (see earlier comment about some of these things only being genre specific).  The topic on FB was whether certain genres should or shouldn’t include sex scenes. My answer was “If the author feels it necessary to the story, then yes.” But an author shouldn’t feel obligated to throw in an obligatory sex scene just because someone else says they should, or because Hollywood movies seem to do that. For me personally, I don’t feel comfortable writing sex scenes so I won’t use them, regardless of whether someone ELSE feels it would be appropriate. I would rather have a little romance, some hugging, kissing, and let the reader imagine what they will. Do the characters have sex or don’t they? As far as my story lines go, whether they do or not isn’t relevant to the plot.

The other subject I want to touch on is whether writers should or shouldn’t include characters of certain skin color, religions, or sexual preference. I actually had someone  leave a comment on my old website lambasting me for refusing to include gay/lesbian couples in my Portals of Destiny series. *cue jaw hitting the floor* I was astounded that someone would dare to tell me what sort of characters I HAD to include in my books. I refuse to play the politically correct game and feel like I have to create characters to please each and every person on the planet. If a characters sexual orientation, religion, skin color, etc has relevance to the story, then by all means WRITE THEM! But readers shouldn’t begin reading a book expecting that each and every one is going to be a perfect balance of all things PC. Not gonna happen.  If a reader is looking for something specific in the way of characters, sex, etc then they should read a genre that matches what they are looking for, NOT expect every author to write to their specific preferences.

Find me:

Twitter: @ShayFabbro and @DrShayFabbro



Giveaway details

Shay is offering to giveaway a copy of her amazing science fiction ebook, "The Chosen". Just leave a comment below to be entered in the running.

And please make sure to leave your email address so she can get in touch with the winning entrant.


  1. I have a short story called ‘Sex’ in which we watch an author trying to think where he can it a sex scene into his book. A short quote from the story:

    I read someplace that Peter Benchley was told to slip an extra chapter in Jaws and he did it just like that, at the drop of a hat. OK, so it was the first thing that Spielberg dropped which shows that sex isn’t everything.

    Of course the sex wasn’t tossed because Spielberg was a prude but because a) it slowed down the action and b) it would have upped the film’s rating to an 18 (or X certificate as it still was back then). Personally I’ve never written a full-blown sex scene in a novel. I mention sex, people talk about it (sex is too funny not to talk about it), but I’ve never found the need to be graphic in my descriptions; that’s why our readers have imaginations.

    I have included a couple of characters who were gay, minor characters. In the first book this was to highlight the protagonist’s homophobia and the gay guy doesn’t even know he’s gay; the second instance shows a gay couple breaking up in a restaurant and is shown from a distance. I had no agenda in making them gay other than to give my protagonist something to look at while she’s eating, a puzzle to sort out: just what is the relationship between these two? In all honesty we never find out if they are or aren’t gay; she just decides they are.

    But you’re right, you cannot please all the people all the time. We should be grateful if we can please any of the people any of the time.

  2. Well said, Jim :D I guess as an author, my hackles raise and I get totally defensive when someone tells me that I have an obligation to write certain characters. I let my characters do their own talking and they let me know their personalities without someone else chiming in ;)