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When writing a story, an author's job is to paint a picture and evoke a series of emotions that go along with it. They can bring out feelings of love, feelings of loss, feelings of rage, and feelings of nostalgia. But it's all in the pictures you create in the reader's mind. It's all about them being able to visualize what you put on the screen.

 

But, what happens when the picture you're painting is one of extreme violence? What if the rape, the abuse, the blood, the gore...becomes too graphic and disturbing for your audience to read? Not just random, senseless, violence...but something that was purposely depicted in a harsh and negative way in order to create a reaction and further the story. How does an author know when he's gone too far? Have you ever read something that was a bit too dark, too violent, for you to enjoy what the the author was trying to do. Even if the negative impact was intentional...can there be too much?

 

Let us know what you think!

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I'm sure that it can. However, I wouldn't be true to myself as a writer if I pull back on things that are meant to be in the story. i suppose it comes back to the question... do you write for yourself or for your readers. The answer for me is sometimes one sometimes the other. In LIC I pulled out all the stops and just let myself do because I was doing it for myself, just to see what I could do. I gave warning at the beginning and if people chose to read on then they took what they got. In other stories especially the ones I wrote for the anthologies and the novella competition I pulled back and wrote for th reader, I think most stories are a combintion of the both. I would feel bad if people were negatively affected by my stories but I wouldn't stop writing what I'm writing because of it and I wouldn't pull the offending material unless I re read it and thought that it was objectively offensive or not true to the story. People are too easily offended by things which are not objectively offensive. I happen to think that if material which is not objectively offensive brings out strong negative feelings in someone then the responsibility is theirs and not mine and perhaps the fact that the negativity has been brought to the surface is an indication that now is the time for them to deal with it.

 

What is objectively offensive? i suppose that is a subjective question.

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When writing a story, an author's job is to paint a picture and evoke a series of emotions that go along with it. They can bring out feelings of love, feelings of loss, feelings of rage, and feelings of nostalgia. But it's all in the pictures you create in the reader's mind. It's all about them being able to visualize what you put on the screen.

 

But, what happens when the picture you're painting is one of extreme violence? What if the rape, the abuse, the blood, the gore...becomes too graphic and disturbing for your audience to read? Not just random, senseless, violence...but something that was purposely depicted in a harsh and negative way in order to create a reaction and further the story. How does an author know when he's gone too far? Have you ever read something that was a bit too dark, too violent, for you to enjoy what the the author was trying to do. Even if the negative impact was intentional...can there be too much?

 

Let us know what you think!

OK! It won't surprise too many that phana14 responds to THIS one!

You will have to force the author's name and story title out of me, because I don't think admin wants to hear any more out of me, but not too long ago I read a story where, in one chapter alone a young boy is repeatedly beaten, raped (gang) and tortured.

I screamed to the HEAVENS about it!

Yes, there was a generic warning at the begining of this story. And yes, I read it. But nowhere in the WORLD could I have prepared myself for what I read--and then it was already too late. Admin knows this. I went BALLISTIC!

That author had a MORAL obligation to omit that material, or at the least tone it WAY the hell down! His use of psysical, mental and sexual assault was horrendous! Actually, I believe my original description was *gratutious use*.

Well Comicality, you asked and I answered. I will never, EVER get over that chapter! Not EVER!!!

So! I guess I'll be taking another warning--whatever!

DAVE

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Never! Graphic and gritty is at the heart of what we do. The only way that you've gone too far is if it seems redundant, contrived or cheesy.

 

Hey! I resent that politically incorrect use of the word Cheese. That's discriminatory. :angry:

 

:P

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Have you ever read something that was a bit too dark, too violent, for you to enjoy what the the author was trying to do. Even if the negative impact was intentional...can there be too much?

I thought the description of Richard's treatment by the Mord Sith woman in Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind went way past any story needs into just gratuitous violence and agony -- it became obvious that Goodkind had a morbid fascination with torture.

 

Back in college, I took a course called "Modern Novel." The professor made an interesting comment: "If you're reading something and it's not working for you, just put it down and forget it." So if I hit something that goes too far for my mood or my tastes, I exercise my absolute right as a reader to become a non-reader.

 

Of course I would expect all, or at least most, writers to defend their choices of what to include and how to depict the events in their stories. The lingering question would be, How much of it is genuinely part of the story, and how much of it is self-indulgence or public therapy?

 

A

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