Can Words Be Dangerous?

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Writers all have their own quirks. They all have different ways of coping with stress or “writers block”. For me, writers block has never been a real thing in a way that I couldn’t write anything at all, but it has been a thing insofar as what I could write joyfully. I love writing non-fiction and I love research, but writing fiction has always been the thing that I do that makes me happier than doing anything else. Fiction writers hold the universe in their hands, and they can literally do anything with it. I think it comes with a responsibility though. Good fiction can change minds, and sometimes it can change lives.

I’ve always had a broad spectrum of genres that I enjoy to read in both fiction and non-fiction. History, good literary works, humour, and horror. In my teens there was a short sojourn into soppy romances but that didn’t last very long. Always at the top of my list have been science-fiction and fantasy. An early addiction to Stephen King and Dean Koontz however led to sleeping with the light on for a long time, and to this day I dip into horror sparingly. King’s books are amazingly cerebral when you consider his writing style. He gets psychopaths in ways that are fabulously terrifying to read. I’m really not at all into the new “let’s make friends with the devil” trend though.

The biggest problem that I have with trends like these (see also the It’s Sexy to Have Vampires Sucking on Your Neck – poor hungry guys) is because in the hands of really good writers, blood-sucking demons can start to look very cool, especially when they’re tall, have six-packs, have a good reason to be pitied, and possibly are a tiny bit sparkly. A great writer can make readers feel sorry for the devil himself, while really wanting to help him get over his traumatic childhood. When a book like that becomes a bestseller it becomes a bit of our social history. Just like Shades of Grey set off a generation of people thinking that it is quite acceptable for young girls to be treated like rubbish, as long as it made for good jollies all around in the end. That particular book has to go down in history as one of the most badly written—ever—but it is still loved and defended by a whole lot of people.

Fairy tales seem to last forever, and there are still people today who believe that fairies actually exist. Maybe they do. Maybe the act of writing about them makes them pop into existence somewhere. I do like to think that the creatures that come alive in my mind when I write them exist somewhere now in our vast universe. If you believe in the law of attraction, you create in your life what you focus on. This has been proved right a lot more than not, so it makes me wonder, what happens when we concentrate on evil things, in whatever form, shiny  and good-looking  or gnarly with big claws and teeth? I’m not innocent in this respect because of the seriously gnarly and evil Nefandus in one of my own books—those guys scared me when I wrote them—still do as I write more of them.

The thing is, it is clear that they are the bad guys. They don’t have groupies Googling “how can I summon a Nefandus that has a lot of muscly bits?” That is not as funny as it sounds because there are actual Google searches of people trying to find out how to either become a vampire or locate one. It just seems wrong to me to put books out there where the devil is the one who has been wronged, and to glorify powers that have historically been seen as demonic. Banshees are no longer feared—rather their “powers” are considered enviable. Aliens are eminently bonkable, their being related to fish notwithstanding apparently. Demons are great as long as they look good and had an unhappy childhood. Vampires—well—

I remember when the Interview with a Vampire books and movies came out. I remember feeling a lot of pity for those poor things—and admiration for their gorgeousness. Almost every teenage girl in the eighties had a crush on Tom Cruise—back before we found out that he had to stand on boxes to look smoulderingly down on his leading ladies. And the whole couch bouncing thing of course—

That’s just the opinion of this particular scribbler though. Reading is all about escapism after all, and we should be able to differentiate between what could be possible and what is just too way out there. Still—you never know—while I like to think of friendly cartoon Pegasus and dragon having marshmallow parties with their buddies somewhere out there, I would not be so happy with some of my other “creations” zooming around anywhere at all.



19 thoughts on “Can Words Be Dangerous?

    Sue Vincent said:
    December 20, 2018 at 8:55 am

    From an esoteric standpoint, the theory is that anything we create on paper has already been given form on the plane of causation… in other words, what we write does come into being, at least briefly. And, as a long time fantasy/sci fi fan, I agree that books can change lives and, in doing so, can change the world. I would never stand in the way of a good story, but when writing about old myths and legends, a little understanding is a good place to begin. Haven’t we created a race of ‘vampires’ in the brittle generation of entitement? I rather fancy Mary Shelley would see parallels to her tragic ‘monster’ in the lives of many today.

    Liked by 2 people

    danniehill said:
    December 20, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Very good post, Jo. My writers block seems to be permanent, but my reading is a pleasure. I think my moving back the States did me in, but for a few months I’m back in Thailand, so maybe my muse will visit. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

    Mick Canning said:
    December 20, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Words can be the most dangerous things in the world…

    I’m with you on this subject, Jo. Sympathy for the devil is a rather worrying thing, simply because it opens up a whole can of other worms. There’s always been an element of this, though. It’s called hero worship. Just think of blood-thirsty low-moral outlaws like Billy the Kid and Ned Kelly – they have millions of fans who think they were cool and somehow heroes.

    Liked by 2 people

    jenanita01 said:
    December 20, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.

    Liked by 1 person

    The Story Reading Ape said:
    December 20, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Let Jo know what YOU think of non-fiction writers responsibilities (and welcome her back to blog-land) 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    coldhandboyack said:
    December 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Great post. If some of my fictional creations are real somewhere, we’re all in trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    marymichaelschmidt said:
    December 20, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Reblogged this on When Angels Fly.

    Liked by 1 person

    Marcia said:
    December 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    You have echoed some of the things I’ve thought about over the years, and added a few more what-ifs to the list. Great post. I’m guilty of reading many, many scary books over the decades, though I’ve focused more on epic fantasy lately. Still, like so many others, I’ve been suckered (see what I did there?) into the realm of vampires and werewolves as misunderstood heroes in recent years, too, before I thought about it in more depth and decided it really wasn’t working for me.

    As for my own writing, the bad guys will always get their just deserts by the end of my books. It’s only right. 🙂 And if I ever write a vampire story–you never know!–my non-sparkly, pain in the neck blood-sucker will be thoroughy staked and/or sun-broiled to a crispy pile of debris by the end. (Take that, Fang Boy!)

    Thanks for a thought-provoking and timely post. Enjoyed and shared! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    tracikenworth said:
    December 21, 2018 at 3:19 am

    Reblogged this on Loleta Abi.

    Liked by 1 person

    Can Words Be Dangerous? – Where Genres Collide said:
    December 21, 2018 at 3:20 am

    […] via Can Words Be Dangerous? […]

    Liked by 1 person

    floridaborne said:
    December 21, 2018 at 11:39 am

    We live in a universe that is both violent and beautiful. The essence of it resides inside all of us. You’re correct, a good writer can have you lusting after the devil — but I think that a great writer can take you down that path and, by the end of the book, you’ve learned that the worst evil knows how to radiate beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life. said:
    December 21, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Jo Robinson shares her thoughts on how writers push the boundaries with regard to accentuating their demons and vampires attractiveness and appeal whilst still allowing them to commit dastardly deeds that should not really be romanticized… I think I agree as I quite like even the most attractive demon to get their comeuppance at the end of the story…. I like John Wick….. head over and let Jo know your views…#recommended

    Liked by 1 person

    December 21, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Reblogged this on The Country Goth Girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    angus48 said:
    December 22, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Words are Dangerous Jo. Hope all is well with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Jack Eason said:
    December 24, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Welcome back Jo. Haven’t written a thing since last year’s effort ( Words can be used as weapons. But I prefer to entertain with them…

    Liked by 1 person

    Jack Eason said:
    December 24, 2018 at 7:05 am

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Lovely Jo is back 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    M T McGuire said:
    December 24, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    I think there’s a lot of truth in what you say. I like that the forces of evil should be sympathetic in some way because that’s part of their power and it makes their power believable. But there are dangerous ways of blurring the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    HESTER said:
    December 28, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you i appreciate, will get back to you on this one. love and hugs, Hester

    Liked by 1 person

    kevin cooper said:
    March 17, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    We think alike Jo. Btw, I posted your review on my new site:

    Liked by 1 person

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