The Fourth Pillar of a Great Writer: Honesty

Welcome, one and all to the incredibly–

Wait, what’s that, you say? This joke has already gotten old? Preposterous! I’ve only used it for three blog posts! Three! Why can’t these readers be content with the same old jokes day after day? It boggles the mind! Why, I might actually have to work to keep up viewership! What’s that, Handerwym? I’ve never had any viewership in the first place? Rust it, you’re fired! Go back to working with Nickie Savage!

As you can probably tell, I’m neck-deep into The Lost Metal. If you want my opinion, era two of Mistborn has its ups and downs, but nothing beats the first era for me. I’m enjoying it nonetheless, especially all the nutty crossovers (Wait, Shen from The Emperor’s Soul uses a soulstamp that allows her to use the rune magic from Elantris? RAFO! Also I never really liked Elantris)

But anyway, enough Sanderjabber. I’m here to talk about Pillars, not Shards. And in this case, it’s not the Fourth Ideal but the Fourth Pillar, namely, Honesty! (and if I promised to give you worthwhile content I would be in violation of said pillar) And now that I’ve (mostly) got the nonsense out of the way, let’s be real, let’s be honest, let’s be really honest about HONESTY.

Hoo, what an opening, right?

What first comes to mind when I say the word honesty? Perhaps it was that one kid in school who always told the truth, even when it got him in trouble. Maybe it was the celebrity who came out with an unpopular opinion knowing that they’d receive backlash for their actions. Maybe it was your teary-eyed son discussing how he–

On second thought, I’m leaving that sentence unfinished. (boy, I’m on a roll today aren’t I?) Regardless, honesty denotes sincerity, truthfulness, and completeness. It’s doing the best you can, without ulterior motive, when it comes to telling the truth about things. It’s about humility and sincerity.

Now, how does this translate into writing? Well, I’ll give you an example of how this doesn’t work: in the movie Wonder Woman 1984 (full disclosure, don’t watch this movie) she uses a magic McGuffin to wish her old boyfriend back to life, but the movie’s set it up really weirdly. You see, Rogers (I think that’s his name, I honestly don’t even care) wasn’t really returned to the land of the living: it was more like his spirit is now embodying the body of another man. It’s weird, but stick with me.

So what you’re trying to say, Patty Jenkins, is that some poor bloke off the street got basically possessed by the spirit of Wonder Woman’s dead boyfriend…all because she made a wish making it so? And she feels no remorse for basically killing this guy? For allowing his body to be taken over? At least, it seems to me like that’s pretty immoral.

But wait, it gets worse. I did mention that Rogers was Wonder Woman’s boyfriend, right? And of course, it wouldn’t be a superhero movie with a female lead made in the 21st Century if it didn’t have an obligatory sex scene. But this man who Rogers is inhabiting is the other party having sex with WW, and he’s not capable of giving consent, then doesn’t that make WW…well, I think you can see where this is going.

While I don’t necessarily think Patty Jenkins is advocating for rape, the writing is so abysmally lazy that it actually suggests that it might be fine for Wonder Woman to do what she’s doing. In other words, these horrible lessons Wonder Woman 1984 teach us spring from a lack of honesty in writing.

You see, if you write about sex, you have to portray it honestly (or omit it entirely, if it makes you uncomfortable). Wonder Woman 1984 is not an honest portrayal of anything, because if the movie were honest it would actually grapple with the morality of bringing (or banging) someone you love back but at the price of someone you don’t know. Honestly, it’s a serious topic. But Patty Jenkins doesn’t seem to care.

Honesty comes from taking the topics in what you write seriously. And it’s not only that, but portraying them in the most truthful light you can muster. It’s acknowledging that writing is not portraying ideas as you see fit, but portraying ideas as they are. That is Honesty. And I charge you: write honestly.

Oh yeah, and that’s all.


Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!

Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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