Social situations are always a touchy topic. We see them in the press all the time, but should we see them in our stories? The answer is simple, yes. Whether an author is writing non-fiction or fiction, social situations have always played an important part in a story. In this article, I’m going to address why it is important.
In the story Voyage of the Defiance: Breaking Free series, Makayla is faced with many issues that can be found in society today: a dysfunctional family life, prescription drug addiction, gangs, first love, and bullying at school. That is a lot rolled into one action-packed story, but life never just deals you one problem card. Plus, each situation helps guide how Makayla and the other characters react in the story.
The Reaction of the Characters:
The reaction is important. It has to be real for it to be believable. One way of capturing that realism is to remember what it was like to be back in high school for Voyage of the Defiance. It also helped that I worked in one and saw a lot of what was going on. Many of the issues are things that the students faced. I remember a group of about fifty high school kids getting into a fight during lunch after a gang shooting. Emotions were running high and so was the tension. While I didn’t have this event in the story, I did capture the emotions and tension during several scenes including one where Makayla is jumped between classes.
Awareness and Education:
Awareness and education are important in dealing with issues that come up. Makayla’s life wasn’t perfect, most kids and adults would say theirs weren’t either. It is important to understand that these types of issues are real and can happen to anyone. Well known books, including fables and fairytales, deal with social issues: Snow White and Cinderella? Yep, the step-mothers were green with jealousy and dealing with a dysfunctional family. The Ugly Duckling, Pinocchio? Yeah, it had some major issues with bullying. The list goes on and on. An important aspect is to recognize it and provide positive ways of dealing with the issues that the characters face.
Drawing the Line:
In the long run, it is up to the author to draw the line on which social issues they are incorporating into their story and how the characters deal with it. Non-fiction will definitely be different than fiction, but both need to portray and accept that the reaction whether from a real person or a fictitious one has to be in line with real life emotions and reactions and handled with respect. Social issues and problems have been around for thousands of years, it is how we deal with each one that continues to remain the focus.
About S. E. Smith
S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.