• Andrea Torrey Balsara

IWSG: Where I Draw the Line as a Writer



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!


IWSG October question: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?


I draw the line at writing stories that are without hope. I would even go so far as to say that I DESPISE stories, whether on the page or on the screen, that are dystopian with no way out, or are needlessly violent, or that portray life as base and solely adversarial. (I have been known to walk out of movies, much to my family’s embarrassment, and ask for my money back. I know, I know. I’m a bit of a crank.)


Sometimes, though, an honestly-told young adult story will have violence—sometimes extreme violence—but it’s needed for the story to make its point. For me, that point must serve a higher purpose. I will never write about violence or abuse unless it is part of a story that is ultimately hopeful. Give me a good redemption story any day of the week!


As a writer for children up to young adults, I feel a responsibility to my readers, as they will inhabit the worlds I create for however long it takes them to read my stories. When I write for very young readers, that sense of responsibility is even greater, as what I write will help shape their world view. I want to share with them a sense that although life can be hard, sometimes brutally hard, that’s not all it is. I want my stories to inspire them to look within themselves and find strength, resilience, joy and HOPE.

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