“But it really happened.”
I was in an adult-ed writer’s group when I first heard this. I’d watched the woman speaking become tenser and grimmer as members of the group—gently and with compassion—suggested that the gruesome events on the page could be presented in a manner more conducive to engaging the reader.
She listened for only a few moments—sadly, this group did not have a ‘be silent while being critiqued’ policy—before unleashing, accusing the group of everything from indifference about sexual assault on children, to ignorance about how children really thought (this in response to our collective idea that 4-year-olds did not speak like 30-year-olds.) She shook as she lectured us on the horror of incest.
True that. Everything she said about her pain and suffering was true—but it still didn’t work on the page. My social services hat went on and I reacted to