My mother always told me don’t talk about religion or politics. You’ll only get into arguments. So what about when you are writing? Should you mention them then?
I feel a hearty Yes coming on.
After all, you are not supposed to talk about those things because they lead to arguments. People feel strongly about them. If you leave them out of your books, you leave a big hole in your characters.
So where do you draw the line between well rounded character and someone that is just a vehicle for your own beliefs?
The question holds the answer. Is this really the character speaking? Is that a legitimate point of view for them to have, and would they really say that out loud?
One of my favourite authors is John Ringo. His characters are often quite pronounced in their beliefs. Occasionally he can stray into the realms of proselytising but it’s rare. (Or maybe it’s only when I disagree with him that I notice it.) Most of the times, it rings very true for the character, even if they are complete blow hards. And the characters around them treat them accordingly.
That is the other litmus test for me. Do the people around the character react in a realistic way? When proofing, I often try to put the other character’s hat on and think about their reaction while this is happening. It can drive your editor mad when your point of view shifts mid stream and you didn’t notice, but it really does make for a more realistic flow to the action.
So what do you think? Should we talk politics or the weather?