Pushing the Envelope: How Far is Too Far?

Writers are movers and shakers. Okay, for the most part, we sit in our little respective caves and listen to voices in our heads. They speak and sometimes, we respond. (Which is why writers’ conferences are so ironic.) So how is it a group of people who are so reclusive can have an impact on… everything?

I’ll tell you how. Rhetoric.
School of Athens, by Raphael

Rhetoric is a freakin’ super power. “The art of discovering the available means of persuasion with regard to any situation.” – Aristotle, paraphrased.

In short, it is through vocabulary – sharing the words with others – that opens a dialogue. Once we share a common vocabulary, we’re able to wrap our rapidly shrinking brains around previously confusing topics. And it's important to note that there is positive dialogue and negative dialogue. I hope I use the former.

When I was first introduced to the term “transgender”, (a shockingly short number of years ago), I remember saying to the person with whom I was speaking, “give me a minute. I’m trying to process what that means.” It wasn’t until I began to acquire a vocabulary on the topic that I could begin to understand what it means to be transgender.

And for this reason, I’ve been trying to insert the vocabulary of what it is to be ____. (Fill in the blank) into my novels. Yes, my audience is sweet and conservative from a romance standpoint. That doesn’t mean I can’t infuse the vocabulary for introducing new-to-you topics.

So in my next series of novel, keep your eyes open. You’ll meet characters who force you to push the envelope, introduce you to new vocabulary, and hopefully, open a dialogue.


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