A couple of interesting articles caught my eye. First is this post by Rick Gekoski, who discusses how writing brings out the worst in him:
I fiddle about, rewrite and reconsider, and go back to bed an hour later thoroughly stimulated, dissatisfied, and unable to sleep. I read for another hour. The next day I complain that I am tired, and show all the signs of it: irritability, abstraction, and a tendency to fall asleep on a sofa at any time, including when I am being spoken to.
There’s something to be said for the tendency for delving too deep in these dark arts to bring out the more negative aspects of human character. Self-obsession is a dangerous path. Writers have to put up some kind of wall around them, for the preservation of their mind to get the job done, but that can quite quickly become a fixation with their own self-worth.
The Internet doesn’t make things much better, especially given the saturation of social networks with writers and writers-to-be (which I don’t mean negatively; that’s just the nature of things these days, though I do pity new writers struggling to make a splash). Everyone’s competing for attention, with little to say that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. (I’m stunned the number of times useless writing advice is recycled.) All of this can exacerbate the diva-like tendencies of writers.
I rather like this bold statement that Mills & Boons is to blame for sexual health problems, including:
unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancies, unrealistic sexual expectations
That’s a reasonably large list of issues, but I think there’s a point to be made there. Again I like to ask, do authors have some kind of responsibility here? Even if authors are writing mindless-fiction, there’s no need to write mindlessly. It’s a similar notion to the one about using regulation to make the pornography industry use condoms, so as to promote the use of safer sex.
This doesn’t stop with real-world books, but fantasy fiction, too (though I suppose romance fiction is a fiction of fantasy).
Personally, when the occasion presents itself, I do think writers should have some kind of self-awareness over such issues. I was conscious, when writing Brynd’s scene in City of Ruin, that he ask for protection, because to promote unprotected sex between men would have been a ridiculous thing to include. Maybe it’s a generational thing, too.