Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tis the Season to Be Offended

I received a link to a really fun little movie which will soon be entered in the LDS film festival. It reminded me that once again we are smack dab in the middle of the offend-me season. You know the one where the HOA members are offended by the peace sign in the middle of the woman’s Christmas wreath. The one where every other night you can see a news story about someone putting up a public nativity scene and someone complaining about it. The one where Christians are planning on picketing stores which say happy holidays and non-Christians are picketing the ones that say Merry Christmas. I learned recently that lots of people are offended by the Happy Feet movie. I want to be offended by it, but I don't seem to get out to many movies lately. But I AM offended by another Rocky movie coming out. I can just see all these poor little kids going, "Mommy, why is that man throwing body blows at Grandpa."

This is also the time of year when Newsweek names its person of the year. Which always manages to offend someone. It turns out that I am the 2006 Time person of the year. Of course this offends me no end. Why 2006? I’ve gained about ten pounds. I haven’t published anything in the national market yet. I’m really out of shape and my office is a mess. Why couldn’t they have picked me back in 2002 when I was svelte and running regularly? Or waited till next year, when I see big things happening. I’m just fuming.

This happens with books too. I’ve had several readers tell me how unrealistic it is to have Shandra eat everything and not gain any weight. I can tell it really bothers them. They were probably bothered by Barbie when they were younger too. It really stinks when your doll/action figure gets more dates than you. I’m still not on speaking terms with Aquaman. Lots of writers I know go through the same thing, whether it’s because of what they write, how they write, or even where they write. A recent blogger lambasted my friend Josi Kilpack because of a picture showing her writing on a tropical beach. Too bad the blogger didn’t know that Josi does almost all of her writing while juggling a house-full of kids.

Then we can get offended because some author or another got a perk we didn’t. (Like that unabridged book on tape Rob grrrr.) It’s easy to see that our books would sell MUCH better if only we got the radio ad or the prime catalog spot or the better signings.

Of course offending people can have positive benefits too. Lots of people who would never read Anita Stansfield rushed out to buy one of her previous books when Deseret Book refused to carry it. And how many copies of Da Vinci Code would Dan Brown have sold if it wasn’t for all the controversy around that book? Heaven forbid we all realize it’s fiction.

But see the thing is—people almost never set out to personally offend someone else. Anita didn’t write a book thinking it would get kicked out of DB. I can’t imagine anyone setting out a nativity scene with the idea of getting back at the Muslims. When a Jewish friend wishes me a Happy Hanukah it’s not because he’d mad he doesn’t have a Christmas tree. I want to have a happy Hanukah, and a happy Ramadan. I want Rob to get an unabridged book. I want Sariah to get radio ads. I want Kerry to write by the side of her pool while I have to shovel ten freaking inches of . . . okay, no, that’s just going too far.

So how about we all have a Merry Christmas and a Non-offended New Year. By the way, here is the link to the film.

The atheist is played by LDS playwright Thom Duncan—which is funny considering that he takes great delight in offending people. Good job, Thom.


At 12/18/2006 5:16 PM, Blogger C.S. Bezas said...

Love this, love this, love this, Jeff! And no, you didn't offend me. :0)

At 12/18/2006 5:40 PM, Anonymous Amy said...

Good point, Jeff! Oh, I have a question for you, what do you say to an atheist when they sneeze? My friend asked me this and ever since I haven't said anything when anyone sneezes (unless I know them well) because they could be atheist.

And by the way, I think the best part of your books are the stuff with Shandra thinking about or eating food. It's funny!

At 12/18/2006 5:49 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Just go with the Seinfeld approach and say, "You're so-o-o-o good looking!"

Coming up with strange new foods for Shandra is half the fun. You'll love where her new apartment is in book 3.

At 12/19/2006 12:28 AM, Blogger KB said...

Very funny. Loved it.

At 12/19/2006 2:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked,

At 12/19/2006 8:01 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

I am offended by Shandra. Although, really offended is not the right word. Jealous, maybe.

Someday her metabolism will catch up with her!

At 12/19/2006 11:37 PM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

Very nicely done. However now I wonder about how I may be offending people with my sence of humor. thank you very much.

Just say bless you, then explain the saying came about during the flu epidemic of 1918. when someone sneezed people were afraid they would be next to die. they started saying God bless you as an attempt to keep them from passing away. so you are saying you want them to stay around and not have anything bad happen to them.
By the way Jeff I sent you an email recently about Cutting Edge. Read your email and answer my question. How can I learn from the master if he doesn't share his secrets.
thanks again for your blogs.

At 12/20/2006 11:18 AM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...


The first thing I did was hurry and check my e-mail (which I try to respond to somehwhat regularly) but no message. When did you send it? Did you use ?

Some people accidentally write or I know all those nice e-mails oif his were meant for me.

At 12/20/2006 12:33 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

I don't get nice emails. Unless you mean the compliments from my Nigerian pen pal (he's totally going to hook me up with six million dollars!)

At 12/20/2006 9:46 PM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

Not sure I went to your website. I asked about Point of view and why you used the journal. did you use the journal as an attempt to switch point of views without actually switcing? I like the way it turned out.
I've got to admit that I started to figure it out when he went to church and met grizzley for the first time. I went back and read the prologue and still thought it was the sinister bunch. when he found the slashed tires, I knew that Grizzly was some kind of federal agent. but I've got to admit the security guard took me completly by surprise.

At 12/21/2006 1:10 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...


Sorry, I never got the e-mail. But I’ll respond on-line if that’s okay. As far as point of view, I could have shifted from Travis to Lisa, but I was trying to avoid giving away the fact that she had jumped on an airplane and was coming directly into Grizzley’s hands. I thought that worked okay, but I made several beginner mistakes in Cutting Edge.

For one thing, I missed out on the opportunity to weave in additional storylines. It’s the difference between a novel and a story. I could have played up many other angles. For example, what if Lisa really needed Travis back in Utah because of her illness? Or I could have played up the faith issues from the first couple of chapters as Travis struggles. But I didn’t.

Also, I didn’t flesh out Lisa like I should have. If you give someone all the back-story I did, you need to make them a more rounded character. Lisa was basically a foil for Travis’s issues.

Third, the first chapter was just about everything you want to avoid in chapter 1: flashback, flowery description, lack of action, lots of emotion. Good thing the ending was better or I would never have published another book. Still I have a fond spot for it as my first book.

I also thought I made it too predictable. Something I’ve repented of.

Thanks for asking,



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