Several years ago, some friends and I watched a movie about a family who was taken to a concentration camp. The father, through very creative methods, protected his child from the reality of their life. Although they faced certain death, the father made each day an adventure.
When the movie credits rolled, some viewers commented on how wonderful this father was. I agree. He was courageous and caring beyond measure. But at the same time, I was bothered by the message the viewer came away with. It wasn't reality. Don't get me wrong. I'm so glad the boy was spared the horrifying reality he faced, but years after the occurrence, would he question everyone's memories? Even today, there are people who deny the holocaust's existence. I often wonder how this is possible when the evidence is overwhelming.
This made me think of my writing. I love the 1700s. It was a time of bravery, chivalry, and romance. But it was also a time of war in the United States. It was gruesome and barbaric. Nice, upstanding citizens did horrific things. It is impossible to have a "civil" rebellion.
Some people have read Cost of Freedom and, very nicely, asked if all scenes were necessary. When writing the book, I asked myself that very question. I didn't want to include anything merely for shock value. At the same time, although the book is fiction, it is based on actual occurrences. In my opinion, to omit harsh realities would be a means of minimizing the sacrifices paid. War, and the events leading up to it, are not pretty, but individual character is.
While some scenes might leave readers feeling a tad squeamish, think about the person who endured the reality of the event. How would you have handled the situation? One thing that most readers say after reading Cost of Freedom, be it good or bad, is that they were affected and have been left with a new outlook of this particular event. Interestingly enough, readers who have seen war firsthand don't have any concerns about the contents. One lady, God love her, is on her fifth read.
Although I am no closer to resolving my initial quandary, I hope readers will understand my motives.