That’s right, a heretic! Images of individuals standing before Inquisitors demanding “Confesssss” (William Wallace’s trial in “Braveheart” is one of my favourite movie scenes) could be forming in your mind.
This, however, is not the meaning I’m giving the word or its original meaning. There is a Biblical Greek word translated heresy, whose root meaning simply denotes a choosing or choice, then that which is chosen. It expresses an opinion, especially a self-willed opinion. Pretty much describes our post-modern society, doesn’t it? But, not exactly the images you may have conjured up, even though it eventually came to take that meaning.
If the root word simply means to choose and express a self-willed opinion, isn’t that what we, as writers, do everyday? We make a choice as to the subject matter, filling pages with opinions. The characters we create express those opinions and make choices. Some good, some bad. Some characters will have your sympathy while other your contempt. These opinions may express the thought and actions of characters we might feel uncomfortable knowing. The white supremacist racist, for example, who despises everyone who in not white and refers to other races using vulgar and defamatory language. Not a likable character to the vast majority of us, but if convincingly portrayed will bring a strong presence to any story.
I have read, and heard it said, that you need to find your audience and write accordingly. Other, on the other hand, say that you should write what you want. Your audience will follow. Does it need to be one or the other, or can it be a blending of the two.
I am neither James Patterson, Clive Cussler nor Stephen King. Nor should I try to be. Nor you (unless you are James Patterson, Clive Cussler or Stephen King). My voice, your voice, will be heard if it’s worthy.
So be a heretic! Choose a storyline and express your opinion. Well, in your fiction anyway.