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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few questions for the fiction writers on these boards. Do you feel compelled to make your main characters veg*n? Do you avoid describing meals/eating in your books? Do you ever wonder what responsibility you have to represent the world "accurately" as opposed to how you wish it were? Do you worry that putting veg*n characters in your books will make people see them as "propaganda" and not read them at all?

Wrestling with these questions myself...
 

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I wonder about that all the time when I write. But I'm just a hobbyist writer so it doesn't really matter what other people think.

Not to hijack your thread but along this same line, I used to never keep any meat related neopet food and avoided all leather objects. When I needed it for quests I started to keep it in my SB.

I still never fed my neopets any of the virtual meaty neopet food. Same on gaia, I don't buy any clothing with fur or leather. Probably silly that I don't even want virtual meat and leather on my chars on a game, heh.
 

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I don't feed my neopets meat either, Eclipse! I thought I was the only one!

This is an interesting question. I'm a creative writing major hoping to write novels for a career. I've got three in progress right now. One is a medieval fantasy, and I keep my food historically accurate, although I don't write much about their meals anyway.

One, which I started before I went veg, has a vegetarian civilization! My subconscious must have been nagging at me. The civilization is supposed to have very high moral standards, but they're being contrasted with a hunter-gatherer society who are supposed to be equally right in their views, just different.

My third one is a vampire story. Again, I was not thinking about vegetarianism when I wrote it, but the issues behind veg*nism showed up anyway. Vampire stories generally are about "food" in the form of blood, and particularly when the vampire is reluctant to kill there are many parellels between vampirism and meat-eating. I don't actually write it out, but I'm hoping that my main character's dilemma will cause others to make the connection between their food and the suffering of living creatures.
 

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I haven't written anything in a long time, but when I did, (if I remember correctly) I intentionally left out the details about what the characters were eating. If I wrote something now, I would feel compelled to do the same thing. I guess I do that (leave the details out) instead of making them vegans because of the "obligation of accurateness" you talked about. It's kind of a compromise between feeling that I'm advertising animal products and making the text too arbitrary/forced.

It would be great to have more veg*ns represented in literature and other arts, though. If I wrote short stories or novels, my AR values would probably show at some point or other because they're so central to my worldview.

This kinda reminds me of Isaac Bashevis Singer. He's best known just for writing these short stories about Jewish culture and his experiences, but his text evidently features some AR thoughts because they were so central to his thinking.
 

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OT:

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Originally Posted by Eclipse View Post

Not to hijack your thread but along this same line, I used to never keep any meat related neopet food and avoided all leather objects. When I needed it for quests I started to keep it in my SB.

I still never fed my neopets any of the virtual meaty neopet food. Same on gaia, I don't buy any clothing with fur or leather. Probably silly that I don't even want virtual meat and leather on my chars on a game, heh.
I once managed to play Soldier of Fortune II (a violent first-person-shooter, for those who don't know) without killing any of the dogs that tried to attack me. I ran away from them as fast as I could and with a few attempts managed to avoid them.
 

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So far I don't have any specifically vegan characters, but if someone is eating it's always like a tin of beans or a bagel or something plant based.
 

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I think of my characters as real people, so they eat whatever they eat. I've never had a vegan character, maybe because my characters are seldom very much like me. I don't have many eating scenes in my short stories though. I've thought of having a vegan character, but I haven't thought of one yet that doesn't seem contrived.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cool, cool. I am also an aspiring novelist; right now I write roleplaying games for cash. It's fun, and a living. I'm always tempted to have one or more of my characters be vegetarian just because I see it as a positive and memorable trait, but I don't want my books to be preachy or whatever. The "reflection of acurateness" is important to me.

In my latest book, one character finds she has the spirit of a horse, so it should be pretty easy to make her vegetarian.
Too bad she's married to a bear...well, they're omnivores at least.
 

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I wrote all about my characters without saying why I haven't made most of them vegetarian. Like you, Medesha, I don't want to be preachy, and I don't want to be a "one-note novelist." You know those authors where each of their books are exactly the same with just different character names and mildly different plots? I don't want to become one of them. I think it's important for each character to be his or her own person, and thus their personality traits and lifestyles are going to be different. It would be a little strange for all of them to be vegetarian just because I think it's admirable. Not all of my characters are people I would want to be or that I would want others to emulate.

I'm bored (procrastinating, actually, but same difference), so:

Do you feel compelled to make your main characters veg*n? No. I explained that in detail in my first post.

Do you avoid describing meals/eating in your books? I don't find that kind of detail interesting, to be honest. I mention it only if it is relevant to the plot or of importance to one of my characters. But I wouldn't hesitate to describe a meaty meal if that was the type of food my characters would eat.

Do you ever wonder what responsibility you have to represent the world "accurately" as opposed to how you wish it were? That depends. If I was writing a real-world novel, the majority of my characters would be omni, if not all. In fantasy or sci-fi, anything goes. Like I said before, I am writing a novel that involves a fictional vegetarian culture, set in the future. I would not do that if it was set in modern-day America, because that is not how America is and thus would ruin the authentic setting and place the story in an alternate universe.

Do you worry that putting veg*n characters in your books will make people see them as "propaganda" and not read them at all? If you did that in all your books, I think that it would. It's like books with Christian themes. They might be entertaining, but after a while, the non-Christians get annoyed with them and they end up being niche novels. If the vegetarianism is not a big issue, the readers might stick with it, but I think it would become a running joke (Oh, look, she's vegetarian too! What a surprise!) and the author might get a reputation for being an activist. I would consider it propaganda, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, you just have to accept that if the veg*nism is pushed to the background, it might become a joke and if it is emphasized, you risk alienate the readers.

I push my own values aside when I write. I don't eat meat, swear, drink, have sex, etc., but many of my characters do. I'm not advocating any of these things; I'm just incorporating realism. I think that the larger theme of your work (and that can certainly be about compassion) is more important than small, potentially 'preachy' details.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medesha View Post

right now I write roleplaying games for cash.
Quest Designer?

I was looking at getting in to this for food money while I peruse other, more meaningful endeavors in my own time.

Care to share which company you work for, and/or the qualifications to get in? A.B. in English, etc? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dungeons & Dragons, actually. I've done work for Wizards of the Coast, Paizo Publishing (Dragon Magazine), White Wolf games (they publish Vampire the Masquerade), Sword & Sorcery Studios (they publish the World of Warcraft roleplaying game system) and a few others.

How I got into the business: played the games all my life, know the rules (mostly) inside and out, love the industry. I started by writing for Dragon, which is the easiest way to break into the market (they have guidelines and help on their messageboards at http://paizo.com ). You won't get rich doing it but if you enjoy playing games and can write clearly, do basic math, and meet deadlines, it's alright. I'm not as dedicated as some freelancers, but I did make about $3000 this year just by writing. Also I don't have a degree or anything, just a lot of perserverence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The only one I know for sure is Paizo Publishing, which commisions art for Dragon and Dungeon Magazines. Sean Glenn is the art director. You can email him at sean.glenn at paizo.com with an introductory letter and a link to an online portfolio.

I am certain Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf use freelance artists as well, though I don't know their contact people personally. Wizards of the Coast accepts emails with introductions and links to your portfoli at artdrop at wizards.com, and also in person at conventions (like GenCon). I don't know the art director's name, though.

All these places want fantasy artwork, of course. Dragons and whatnot.


Edit: Goodman Games is also accepting art submissions; info here.

Ditto with White Wolf, info here.
 

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when i write, i don't usually make food a central thing... every now and then it pops up as just something to pull you in more, give the scene a bit more depth.

In my one story, food is yet to make an appearance, but the one character is vegan. Simply because it's who she is. However, I do mention meat every now and then. I try to not make it a big deal, but it does happen.

And if you're worried about keeping it realistic, go ahead and have a veg*an character or two. Because just like in real life, they do appear, and as long as you don't spend paragraphs explaining veg*anism and why it's right, etc, i don't think it'll be too preachy.

Just go with what feels right, and I'm sure you'll be fine.

Besides, I love reading veg*an characters! And for omnis, it's something different and you may find they prefer the veg*an characters.

Just go with your gut
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medesha View Post

A few questions for the fiction writers on these boards. Do you feel compelled to make your main characters veg*n? Do you avoid describing meals/eating in your books? Do you ever wonder what responsibility you have to represent the world "accurately" as opposed to how you wish it were? Do you worry that putting veg*n characters in your books will make people see them as "propaganda" and not read them at all?

Wrestling with these questions myself...
I have co-written two screenplays with eco-defender vegan leads, one of which is action, and the other of which is horror. I also recently wrote a short story with a vegan main character, and it's pretty direct about the horror of flesh, though you never see the word vegan or vegetarian.

I also produce, and had the writer tweak one lead character in a comedy to be vegan. One of the other leads gives her crap for it, but only because he had to find her a portabella burger in the middle of Nowhere, U.S.A. She's portrayed as strong and sexy throughout the script, and the guy giving her crap is a bit of jerk, so it's not demeaning to vegans.

But, obviously, when writing, not everyone can be vegan. You have to be selective. When I make the horror film (producing it), all the food will be vegan, but it will be styled to look like non-vegan food (except for the vegan character's food, of course).
 

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I didn't see this post earlier or I would have replied to it (earlier). I have to say that I don't feel obligated to make them vegatarian, but find that I lack an interest in writing about their eating habbits.

I can see how the vegetarian aspect could take away from what the main objectives, but I feel that with a good use of description, and not making a big deal out of it, it will be successful.

Any time I see a person in Movies that is vegetarian, I don't tend to get distracted by that. It seems just a part of the character.
 

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"... make ... horror film (producing it), all the food will be vegan, but it will be styled to look like non-vegan food"

I had the same idea. That's about it tho. Just that idea. No fully-fleshed-out story.
 

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In my story I am writing now, the characters are Vegan, and it is a fairly crucial part of the story. It is fiction, but in reality is really the story of myself and another real person, and we're both Vegans... there is definitely one notable exchange where Vegan ideas are discussed with some non Vegan characters.
 

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epski said:
But, obviously, when writing, not everyone can be vegan. You have to be selective.QUOTE]

Agreed. The characters based on myself and the other real life Vegan are of course Vegan but nobody else is. It's not brought up through the whole story, but the characters are telling the story in first person, and their thoughts, including odd frustrations with a lack of vegan food on a train, for example, or casual mention of what they're making for dinner can be found throughout the book.
 
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