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    Writing Ethics

    Ethical writing is more than just not taking someone else's work. Personal ethics require that we write in such a manner that what we write is a reflection of who and what we are. Believe me, when you sell your first book and you're sitting at that table signing copies for people, you'll be glad you gave it some thought!

    Many authors tell me that they sold their first book without considering the consequences of reading aloud to an audience, talking about the details of their work on the radio, or debating their ideas with strangers who buy their books. But all of these events are part of an author's life. Promotion is the name of the game if you want to be published. Many publishers' contracts spell out what they require you to do. There's no sitting in a dark Victorian house secretly writing books for today's author. And the time to consider the consequences of what you write and how you write it is WHILE you write the book!

    There are many things to consider:

    • Who are you? Do your words give your readers a picture of who you are and what you believe? I'm not saying you should write sidebars about your personal beliefs. But if a reader asks you about a grisly death scene or an animal torture scene from your book, what will you say?

    • Are you comfortable with your words? Is what you're saying something you agree with or is it just to spice up the book?

    • Do your words reflect your values? If you are a pacifist, are you going to like reading long passages about a murder to your audience? If you truly believe that rape is wrong, do you want your hero to rape your heroine in your book?

    Our words are our own but no one knows the full impact of their words on others. What you say matters as much as what you do. If you can't get past the feeling that no one will ever want to read your work, consider this:

    • Are you happy living in your character's skin while you're thinking about your book? A writer spends a lot of time thinking like their characters. If you're writing a Stephen King type of horror, are you going to be happy living with those thoughts?

    • Will you be happy when your adult children read your work? Would you be happy for your friends, neighbors, and co-workers to read what you wrote?

    • How do you want to be remembered? Unless you destroy your work as you go, someone, somewhere, is going to read it. What will it say to them?

    In short, think carefully about your words. A writer may not have to eat them, but we may have to defend them! Everything you write tells something about you to the people who read it. Your words are forever linked to you. Their impression is what people know about you when they read your work.

    What do you want your work to say about you?

    Next time: Promotion

    Copyright © 2001 Joyce Lavene

    Joyce Lavene, who writes with her husband/partner Jim, is the author of 40 novels including an award winning mystery series and a romance nominated for the Frankfurt EBook Award for 2000. She's also been published in sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction. When she isn't writing, Joyce paints in watercolors and is a practicing herbalist. She and her husband are graphic artists who have created many book covers and professional photographers. They are currently working on five separate series of novels, each for a different publishing house! Joyce is active with RWA and The Mystery Writers of America. She lives and works in North Carolina, USA, with her three children and two grandchildren. She and her husband welcome their readers to their homepage:

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

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    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

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