Posted in On Writing, Useful Sites, Writing Rants

Abuse in Fiction: Backstories

Many lazy writers attempt to create reader sympathy by saying that their main character was abused. At times these writers will include a chapter or two which involves the abuse. Unfortunately, the abuse is rarely dealt with in a healthy manner and tends to be quickly forgotten by the writer.

Words cannot describe how much this angers me.

Abuse affects people’s emotions and thought processes. Different people react differently to abuse. Different types of abuse affect people in different ways. Whether the abused realizes that the abuse affects their life or not, there are lasting effects that need to be dealt with.

If you must have your character abused in their past, make sure you include some of the side effects in their characterization.

Don’t include abuse simply because you want readers to feel sorry for your characters. Victims of abuse deserve so much better than you making light of what they have gone through. They are so strong to have come out the other end despite the scars they may carry. Please, if you include abuse, do them justice by writing it well and doing your research.

I’m not an expert on the effects of abuse and I don’t claim to be. Everything I know comes from what I’ve witnessed and through research. The following links are to some of my favourite, trusted sites that I go to when I need more information about this particular topic.

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Author:

The AP Roberts is an extremely rare creature and there is only one known AP Roberts in the world. Usually off in its own little world, the AP returns to reality when it gets lonely. This elusive creature is rather difficult to catch on film, however will pose for drawings. The AP, though wild by nature, can be tamed and makes a wonderful pet. It should also be known that while the AP gets along with most creatures it has an intense fear of insects and large canines. The AP lives on a diet of mainly vegetables and candy but is not known to refuse food that is made and offered through kindness. The drink of choice for the AP is tea though it is known to drink water and juice. There is still much to be learned of the AP however, most agree that the writings of the AP are truly something to behold. Hopefully, one day the AP will find a good Agent creature who will introduce the AP's writings to a good publisher creature and the world will be able to read the AP's works.

6 thoughts on “Abuse in Fiction: Backstories

  1. Well said, and this goes for any kind of serious illness (cancer, aids), addiction, handicap (whether from birth or later in life), and violence (whether as witness or victim). People don’t just glide over these things. If you’re going to include such topics, you owe it to your readers to research the long term consequences and work them into your story.

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  2. I think this applies to more than just a mention of abuse, but other topics as well. I have read books where something was mentioned to grab my curiosity, but it was never revealed. I tead to the end thinking I’d get to it. I was so frustrated. It is a disservice to the reader and ultimately the writer to leave things unresolved.

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    1. Thank you for reading and your thoughts. I agree that Plot holes are very annoying for both readers and writers. This is why getting someone else to edit is important. Fresh eyes tend to spot problems which the writer may have missed. This is especially true for instances outside the main plot which affect characters (this could include abuse, racism, disability, illness, romance or other instances).

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