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General Writing Discussion For aspiring writers of science fiction and fantasy to discuss issues of writing.

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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

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It occurs to me suddenly that I've possibly not been clear. Perhaps I should've asked what won't you write from a POV. If that even makes sense.

Would you write as the torturer? The rapist? The animal/child abuser?
I don't think I'd want to write from the PoV of any of those - the kind of PoV characters I write wouldn't do such things.

The nearest I've come is when my hero took advantage of a tortured villain's lingering injuries to try and get further information out of him. Somehow it was much less unpleasant to write when the PoV's actions would not have hurt an uninjured person at all...
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

This fits in quite nicely with Lolita, which I was thinking of nominating for best opening paragraph in HareBrain's 'Inspiring Lines' post. I've read The End of Alice too, which was an amazing book.

I have not yet encountered anything I'd be unwilling to write, although I'm not awfully good at landscape descriptions, nor at killing characters.

I like writing sex (sorry) and I would love to write or to read a well-written childbirth scene. Without going all weird about it, it's a really intense experience, and most (fantasy) novels seem to deal with it as fetch-hot-water-a-bit-of-screaming-aww-look!-he-has-your-eyes! which is um not something that chimes with my experience.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I find explicit sex incredibly difficult, and hugely embarrassing, to write about. I have never included it in any of my stories, though I did dabble briefly with something that might be considered pornography, thinking I might actually get it published, but then I read what the professionals were doing and quailed. Some of it was either embarrassingly awful to read or else was far more imaginative than, shamefully, I am myself.

I haven't actually written anything yet that I feel has led me to a need to describe the details of boudoir activities (which, from my intensive and detailed studies on the subject, is often the last place such athletics are intended to occur) and wonder what I would do, should that happy day ever arise, that a publisher asks me to add a scene of that kind. I might need to hire a ghost-writer.

The scary subjects; deviation from sexual norms, extreme anti-social behaviour patterns, torture and the rest, don't seem to bother me as much as a writer as they would in reality. In a comic I wrote about thirty years ago, I gave a hero racist tendencies, my intent being to show how distasteful characteristics can lurk beneath the surface of people we otherwise like a great deal and to ask how we deal with the apparent conflict it may provoke in us, but I did it in such a ham-fisted manner that it looked as though I was condoning racism. One day, when I have the talent for it, I might tackle the subject again.

Also, as a callow youth, I included a rape scene in a radio play which, rather than the character-changing event I'd intended it to be, came across more as a sensationalist insert performing only a gratuitous function. Happily, the error was corrected before the play was broadcast and the re-write was considerably more satisfying and progressed the character far more realistically.

I have hinted at paedophilia as a sub-plot in another story but not yet been courageous enough to examine the subject in detail. The story itself was probably the wrong place to do that and I wonder, sometimes, when I look back at things I have written, what was motivating me to tinker with things I couldn't have understood.

Which is why I now write about time travel.

I've led such a sheltered life
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

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I wouldn't write in any detail about rape, pedophilia, violence toward children. But if the enemy overruns a town, I naturally expect readers to fill in the blanks. I can't imagine that a story where writing a graphic account of any of those things was right would be a story I'd eager to write. (Therefore, not a story I would be likely to write, since there are so many other stories I do very much want to write.)
Yes, I agree, it shouldn't -- ever -- be graphic when involving rape or child abuse.

I think there are some exceptions though, like stories written based of true stories of rape and child abuse? When the books are written from the criminal's PoV in those books, you don't have to wonder about the author... often though, writing those books is their way of escaping their past by talking about it - a form of therapy.


EDIT: actually, imo, not even true stories need to be graphic.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

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I would love to write or to read a well-written childbirth scene.
*cough*weirdo*cough* I've written from the POV of a heavily pregnant woman who went into labour - I cut away to a different scene - come back and she's had the baby. So chickened out there!

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Which is why I now write about time travel.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:13 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Hmm. POV-wise, not sure I could do rape/paedophilia, because like others have said, I simply couldn't put myself in the position of someone contemplating such a thing.

One of the great joys (and challenging) of inhabiting a POV character is immersing yourself in them - for a brief period you get to be them, in a weird kind of escapism most normal(!) (non-writers, to be precise) don't get to experience. I do like to think as writers, when we do write things that squick people - rape/bestiality/torture/whatever, it's not because we want to do them, it's just a 'what if' scenario. So in that respect, I don't think it's weird to enjoy writing immoral things. Writing a rape scene and being pleased with it wouldn't make you a rapist. A rapist is the person you created, and sadly an all too accurate reflection on people who don't have the moral block to stop them from doing it.

/soap box
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:18 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I would never write an antihero - I like flawed and I like quirky. I'll write anything else pretty much.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:18 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Women... because they are *cough* crazy and how could I even begin to understand a creature that doesn't even understand itself?

This is why the love interest in my book is from a gay hermit who happens to be the oldest, most powerful being on the planet... but does he know or care? No, he just wants that young piece of ass that gets them both in trouble.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:20 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I don't like reading sex scenes in books (they bore me to death and pull me out of a great story quicker than a slap in the face and a cold shower. If a book has them, I'll skip it all.) so I wont write them. Saying that characters have had sex, are going to have sex, or are in a sexual relationship, I'm fine with.

Incest and rape. I don't mind those, but like I say above, I don't write the scenes. If a character is raped, it'll happen off screen (page?) or more likely be something that happened in the past and only be mentioned if it has some relevance to the plot or characters behaviour and actions (and not the sole reserve of women).
Incest strangely enough is quite a normal thing in my writing (dont run away, i have a reason, honest). My worlds tend be ones where magic for healing and health is a common thing, so birth defects and the like are practically non existent. So brother and sister relationships tend to be the norm among the people who use said magic.

I think if I wrote nothing but strong women it would be just as unrealistic as those who only have the airhead princess who's job it is to be saved by the handsome man. Both men and women come in strong and weak (strong and weak also come in different forms) so I think a good mix of both is what's needed. Though I suppose you can throw that little rule out the window if you only have a couple of characters.

Torture and violence is easy. Intend to ignore the existence of monotheism.
Blonde hair and blue eyes is something I'm reluctant to write. I'm just sick to the teeth of everybody being blonde with blue eyes. It almost pulls me out of a story as quick as sex now. The wide diversity of the human race + a fantasy land = everyone (all the main or beautiful characters anyway) in the world looks like they are from a remote village in Sweden?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:20 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

What a good question Mouse.

I was sitting here thing king about it wondering just what I would and would not write, and was going through all the normal ones, those that are covered by a lot of people here and then my mind slipped back over a couple of years (well perhaps 20) to when I wrote a script for two comic strips.

Dawn of the Supermen touched on rape, abuse and it was very adult for what was meant to be a superhero story.

Midnight Gothic was one of the most dark, depressive things I have ever had the displeasure of writing and it touched on virtually anything and everything I might not want to write. The story worked because of it.

So in answer to the question, I'd write about anything if the story required it.

Perhaps.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:20 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Well, I have a childbirth scene in my present WiP, so that's not in my "won't ever" list. Mind you the PoV is the husband, and he's a dragon trying to understand (and not succeeding all that well); I don't think I'd attempt it from the mother's viewpoint. I've had beating small children – not torture, just punishment and making sure they won't forget, but it drew blood. And sex and reproduction are an essential element of any living being's makeup; I don't think they can be entirely left out of a story, although shining a spotlight on them to accentuate all the sweaty details is probably not essential (and singularly non-erotic, I would say). Hmm, perhaps I should steer clear of YA – and write fairytales for children, perhaps.

Oh, there are a lot of things I can't write yet, either due to a lack of information or an excess of it, usually. But I'n not not writing them for moral reasons, but lack of skill.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:25 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Also with the sex thing, there is always the thought at the back of my mind; if I get published, is my mum gonna read this?
I think I'd die.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:25 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

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Women... because they are *cough* crazy and how could I even begin to understand a creature that doesn't even understand itself?
Ahem - I think many of us understand ourselves perfectly well, and have a good handle on the other 50% of the planet to boot.

Not every woman is a ditz who thinks about nothing but shoes and soap operas...
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:26 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I've got a childbirth scene in my YA fully described, along with incest, stalking, not quite sex, assasination, poision - etc mostly off camera.

One of my stories sees the death of twenty children at the hands of the POV character that brought them up. So far no beta reader has been disgusted with it which surprised me - I vomited writing it. They even asked me to give the character that did it some hope.

I've recently written a male rape, I kept the scene off camera but the medical exam, and aftermath has been written.

My murder stories can be violent.

I've written what I hope is a disturbing horror (technically he didn't do the canibalism etc he hallucinated it). That was the POV character. OK just realised he is very much an anti-hero lol

I've had a go at a BDSM erotica one was a straight one and the other was Jaundice Snow and her seven little sex toys, Good Stepmother etc that was a comedy.

OK there isn't anything I won't attempt ... I've also written children's stories and a fire extinguisher as the POV character.

I don't fancy literary fiction and I'm too lazy to put in the research for Sci-Fi does that count ?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:28 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

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Also with the sex thing, there is always the thought at the back of my mind; if I get published, is my mum gonna read this?
I think I'd die.
Made the mistake once of letting my mother read a book I wrote with (ahem) somewhat copious m/m sex (or at least sexual references). Not sure she looks at me the same way any more...
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