Monday, December 3, 2018

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” by Diane Bator



Visit Diane Bator's BWL author page for information and purchase links to her Gilda Wright and Wild Blue Mysteries series


I’m not afraid to say it. “A Christmas Story” is not one of my favorite holiday movies. Not even in the top ten. Yet, not only do I write, my day job is at a live-stage theatre and this Christmas our big show is “A Christmas Story.” Not only do I have to deal with it, I have to sell it.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, our version is set in 1953 (the original was set in the 1930s) and is a flashback to nine-year-old Ralphie’s wish to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. The mantra of the play is “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Nothing will stop him from making his parents, his teacher, and Santa aware of his obsession.

 Funny, I was just thinking how Ralphie would make a great writer! We’re all obsessed with our work.
Part of my job is to bring a taste of our current show down to my domain – the box office. This year, my little Christmas tree is covered in “A Christmas Story” themed decorations. Ten people have commented how great and creative it is, but there’s always that one…

One person found two of the items on my little tree offensive. A target with Ralphie and the words, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid” and a smaller one that reads, “I want an official Red Ryder BB Gun.”  At the time, I took them both off the tree because she’s a friend and was very adamant about them not being a part of my Christmas tree.

Then I reconsidered. I didn’t want to be censored and it made me think about how we are censored as writers. Not by society, per se, but by our own beta readers, friends, and family when they give us feedback about things they find offensive in our work.

If one person makes a comment about a certain part of my book, I’ll consider their opinion, but if it gets past my editor several times, I no longer worry about it. If several people make the same comment, then I know it’s a bigger issue. Sometimes I’ll panic and start to wonder if I’m writing in the wrong genre or need different beta readers! In the end, I’ll be able to smooth things over so they are acceptable, yet still get my idea across.

One thing I have learned through seven novels and several editors:  You can never make everyone happy. What I may find funny, someone else may take literally. We all have different perspectives. All you need to do is peruse Facebook to figure that out.

For the record, I’ve hung those little ornaments back on my tree and I’m looking forward to seeing the performance. Someone triple dog dared me…

Sharing some Christmas memories from the 1960s by Nancy M Bell

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