I have a question regarding my WIP. I came up with a fabulous concept for a novel set in the ancient world about 8 years ago, but then (waves hands around) life intervened. I am still busy researching and writing my novel and it brings me so much joy.
But! I am increasingly concerned that in this political climate, it will be a) cancelled by the mob or, more likely, b) shunned by publishers like a plague-ridden ship overrun with toothy rats. Ancient slavery is a central theme and an important plot point could be construed as white saviorism.
I'm feeling discouraged.
Should I forge ahead? Abandon ship? Rework everything? Introduce multiple viewpoints that show I'm aware that yes, my privileged protagonist can be a complete idiot?
I'm fascinated by the complexities of Roman poverty, identity, and gender relations and really want to bring them to life.
There's only one right answer: full speed ahead and damn the (imaginary) torpedoes.
What you're describing is classic writer angst.
You envision all sorts of slings and arrows, and probably better than most cause your writerly imagination is a fierce weapon and sometimes .... well.... you turn it on your own sweet self.
You don't know what lies ahead. Neither do I.
The only thing you know is you have a great story.
And: the publisher of American Dirt is laughing all the way to the bank. Controversy sells.
I’m not saying you should be insensitive on purpose but if someone takes exception to your plot/characters, it's NOT the end of the world, it can be a darn good thing.
I've never forgotten something I learned from a brilliant publicist back in the day. An author was doing media in Portland, with a book signing slated for that evening. We heard via the grapevine (i.e. the radio stations where the author was doing interviews) that the event was going to picketed.
In a dither I called the publicist. "Huzzah!" she yelled! "TV coverage!"
I can think of three or four books I've bought and read just because The Knicker Twisters were so incensed about it.
The thing to fear is NO ONE talking about your book at all.
So, get cracking!