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Old 22nd March 2012, 08:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What won't you write?

I was thinking about this the other day, but I can't remember what I was reading at the time to make me think it.

Anyway, what can you just not bring yourself to write about?

When I write, I have to write as the character whose POV it is. I have to be really in their head. So...

I couldn't ever write incest - I couldn't imagine writing as a character who did that sort of thing, so I wouldn't be able to write it with any realism. Or animal cruelty. I just couldn't do it.

I can write torture of humans though. And murder. And other horrible things. Weird isn't?

What's your can't write/won't writes?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

If I felt it was right for the story, and if I felt it wasn't gratuitous, I'm not sure there's that much I wouldn't attempt. Apart from paedophilia, that I couldn't, ever, do. In fact, cruelty to kids. The one time something bad happened, and a child died, I tried to make it as painless and quick as possible.
I've done torture and hated writing it, put as much of it into a different perspective as I could.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I almost added paedophilia. There's a Neil Gaiman short story called Keepsakes and Treasures where one of the characters is a paedophile. I didn't realise he was until it was spelled out and then it just hit me. The way Gaiman wrote it was very clever.

So I think, if I was clever about it, to fool myself, almost, then I might be able to write it*.



*not the actual act.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

It's more what I can't than won't write, but gratuitous sex I can't do. Seem to always make it IKEA porn, then put the Part A in Part B et cetera...

I won't write weak female characters. I just can't do it. I'd like to, because I can't seem to give them the variety I give my male characters. Then again, all my other females end up cold and condescending (or I think other people would find them so).

I'm a sucker for torture though. Can't put my characters through enough gruesome, limb-severing injuries.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I'm not keen on writing either paedophilia or rape - in addition to them both being distasteful, the latter (at least in regard to women) is so overused in fantasy that I avoid it on principle.

I also don't like animal cruelty, which is a problem when writing about Elizabethan England - I may occasional mention bear-baiting, but my PoV characters don't go there. Luckily my hero has an aversion to gambling, since his brother gambled away the family fortune, so he tends to avoid such places.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Quote:
Originally Posted by allmywires View Post
I won't write weak female characters.
Depends on your definition of weak, I suppose. I used to be the same 'won't write a weak woman,' but now I do love writing a really ditzy female character. Mind, I love writing ditzy male characters too.

Quote:
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I'm not keen on writing either paedophilia or rape - in addition to them both being distasteful, the latter (at least in regard to women) is so overused in fantasy that I avoid it on principle.
Scarily overused.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I think I'm like Springs, if the story calls for it, I'll write it - whatever it is.

My first draft did have child abuse (not to the point where rape actually took place though) - part of it followed the story of a homeless girl - but with the evolution of the plot that story arc got taken out, the character with it - possibly to return at a later date.

I've got plans for a kind of rape plot as part of the story for my second book, but it will happen behind the scenes, and it's critical to the development of the story - a bit of a mystery story arc involving it and the consequences of the act.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

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?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
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?
No to all of those - except possibly the torturer, Joe Abercrombie showed how to do a torturer PoV well.

If something really evil was going to happen, I'd write it from the victims PoV. To write it the other way around feels disgusting.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I don't write sex scenes at all. I go for the 'fade to black' approach. Partly because most things I write it wouldn't fit in with the style of the story. Secondly, because any sex scene I've ever written is wince and/or vomit inducing.

As a side effect, anything more than slightly sexual is similarly avoided.

Oh, and a few years ago, when talking with another amateur writing over a few pints, we both agreed that neither of us would ever attempt to write a scene in which someone gave birth. Some things just don't want to be written down, and the wisdom of beer revealed that this was one of those things.

Edit:

Quote:
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?
Oh dear lord no. Even more so than what I wrote above. In a similar way, I thought write from the POV of someone insane, or a god or an ancient immortal being. There would be no way to write effectively from this point of view, as by neccessity that would involve getting inside their mindset. If its something so different from myself I don't believe I could possibly make it convincing, and the whole thing would come across forced and unrealistic.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

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Originally Posted by Warren_Paul View Post
No to all of those - except possibly the torturer, Joe Abercrombie showed how to do a torturer PoV well.

If something really evil was going to happen, I'd write it from the victims PoV. To write it the other way around feels disgusting.
Ah. See, I find all this fascinating! I've written from the POV of a woman who tortured people and she got a kick out of doing so. I've also written from the POV of a rapist - but he was so, so, distraught about the whole thing so it wasn't like he was a lurking-in-the-bushes kind of rapist.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapheron View Post
Oh, and a few years ago, when talking with another amateur writing over a few pints, we both agreed that neither of us would ever attempt to write a scene in which someone gave birth. Some things just don't want to be written down, and the wisdom of beer revealed that this was one of those things.
I've read some good books that have birth scenes in them. Kate Elliot's Crossroads trilogy comes to mind. But I think the point is, only write it if you can actually pull it off - same goes writing from the criminal's PoV.

EDIT:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
Ah. See, I find all this fascinating! I've written from the POV of a woman who tortured people and she got a kick out of doing so. I've also written from the POV of a rapist - but he was so, so, distraught about the whole thing so it wasn't like he was a lurking-in-the-bushes kind of rapist.
I guess I can see how you could lighten it by making the rapist regret his actions - makes it more bearable. But I've seen books written from criminal's PoV where it gets really disturbing and I sit there wondering what was going through the author's mind - a bit creepy.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

I'm not anti the whole topic of rape - one of my favourite recent reads featured a (male) rape scene. It's just when it's used (mainly by male writers, it has to be said) as the go-to trope for putting a female character in danger.

Yes, it happened an awful lot in the past, but so did many other terrible things that don't get featured in escapist fiction. A little more variety would be nice...
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapheron View Post
Oh dear lord no. Even more so than what I wrote above. In a similar way, I thought write from the POV of someone insane, or a god or an ancient immortal being. There would be no way to write effectively from this point of view, as by neccessity that would involve getting inside their mindset. If its something so different from myself I don't believe I could possibly make it convincing, and the whole thing would come across forced and unrealistic.
Yeah, this is what I find interesting. What have we got in us? Have far can you put yourself in someone else's head? Some authors write as characters doing awful things and I wonder about them.

edit: just seen Warren's edit! I agree.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 09:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: What won't you write?

Quote:
Originally Posted by springs1971 View Post
If I felt it was right for the story, and if I felt it wasn't gratuitous, I'm not sure there's that much I wouldn't attempt.
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 be 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 instead.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne Lyle
I'm not keen on writing either paedophilia or rape - in addition to them both being distasteful, the latter (at least in regard to women) is so overused in fantasy that I avoid it on principle.
I agree. And I agree with Mouse.

Quote:
Scarily overused.
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