Fiction · Plan · Write

Writing about tough topics

Writing about tough topics

There are a lot of things to write about, and some subjects will jump out at you and beg for your attention. Others will require a bit more discipline to get out of you, and still, there will be those subjects that none of us would like to write about but yet still need to be present in our work. These can be difficult to sign your name to, but they may be needed for plot development, to help the reader identify with a character, or to bring awareness to an injustice.

This can bring up a question that most writers have asked themselves at one time or another.

How should I address this tough topic?

The answer to this question will be different depending on the subject at hand, the characters involved in the scene, and the piece you are writing. However, there is still a certain degree of common ground between these situations.

Tough topics come up from time to time, and it’s important that they are presented in a way that allows the reader to understand their full impact, but not be so distressing that it causes them to put your work down. You need to make a point to engage your reader in the subject and make them think about what’s happening instead of alienating them by bringing it up.

Your goal in writing is for people to get something out of your work, and they won’t walk away with much if they feel compelled to leave it behind before finishing it.

Rewrite the scene you are creating again and again. Try it from a few different angles, and see how each comes out. Make changes, refer back to earlier drafts, and keep what works while cutting what doesn’t. Remember that controversial topics will likely leave your audience falling on one side of the fence or the other, and you will need to make sure the point you are trying to make comes across the way you intend it to.

If you are concerned about a piece you have written, make sure to have plenty of people read it for you before you present it to the world. Get feedback, and assess what you have been told. Make a point to seek out readers from different backgrounds, some outside of your target audience for additional information, and to see what they think.

It may take some extra work, but you will likely find that your effort to create a thought-provoking scene will make a huge difference in your writing as a whole. After all, people read to be told a story, and a strong plot helps keep everything interesting.


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