HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Roxanne Skelly

    Can one go too far?

    The last few months (with a large break for recover from jaw surgery), I've been working on some rather intense chapters for a project of mine.
    The themes are somewhat difficult. Prostitution, drug abuse, rape.
    I'm trying to give readers a view into those topics, and unfortunately, my research comes from far too many acquaintances and friends who've experienced those events.

    Anyway, I'm interested in opinion on how far one can go when writing fiction about those topics. There's probably a balance between how graphic I can write, how intensely I can get across the emotions and feeling involved, and so on.

    I'd also be interested on peoples thoughts on writing craft. Pacing, vocabulary, etc.


  2. #2
    Misty Mann

    Re: Can one go too far?

    a paraphrase of a quote from ernest hemingway..."just write one true sentence."

    write the truth--whether it's one sentence or the whole book, and write what you know.

  3. #3
    Denise Keller

    Re: Can one go too far?

    Roxanne, I'm no expert, but I'm reading a book by Nancy Kress called Characters and Viewpoint and she has a chapter that discusses how to handle sex scenes that seemed helpful. Not a detailed treatment of it, but it might give you some insight.

    Good luck!


  4. #4
    stevenlabri ô¿ô

    Re: Can one go too far?

    "write what you know."

    No. You should know what you write. As well, "just write one true sentence." is not referring to writing the truth.

    "I'm interested in opinion on how far one can go when writing fiction about those topics. . . Prostitution, drug abuse, rape."

    You can go as far and as descriptive as your mind will take you. Regardless if you are writing fiction or non-fiction, the act is remains the same so one must be perfectly clear.

    "a balance between how graphic I can write, how intensely I can get across the emotions and feeling involved,"

    No there is not a limit as to what you can or cannot portray in your writing. Write as it comes from the heart and mind, complete the story, and then go back and refine. If you start with doubting yourself or your words at the beginning, you may as well not write the story to begin with.

    Anyhow, back to Hemingway:

    It was wonderful to walk down the long flights of stairs knowing that I'd had good luck working. I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day. But sometimes when I was started on a new story and I could not get going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know." So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut the scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written. - Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

  5. #5
    Dan Andreescu

    Re: Can one go too far?

    Write in a voice you’re comfortable with.
    You can include as many ‘true’ stories as your mind can fantasize about.
    Write it from the point of view of a social worker, or doctor, or whomever.
    Each chapter could be the story of a patient. Interact that with the main character, show his/hers innermost feelings, how it affects everyday functions, family life, work.

  6. #6
    d. Leroy

    Re: Can one go too far?

    Yes, one can go too far.

  7. #7
    Linden Holidae

    Reader Rejection

    today's world is used to reading anything and everything, but i believe when it happens to children, it's just too much. There has to be a 'break' from the pain and torment, and actually, i know a lot of people that have had some instance in their life where they were abused, usually sexually, and most of them are women, and most of the abuse was when they were kids. I believe most people know someone, or have had their own experiances with it all.

    Take the book, "A Boy Called It." It still sells, it's too hard for me to read, especially because it is true. The only redeemable thing about it, to me, is that the boy grew into a man who became successful in life, inspite of what he had been through.

    I'm glad for it, but still cannot brave the book. When it really has happened, it's harder to hear about. When it's a fictitious character, i can swallow it, but to me, these books had better have a happy ending.

    You ever read the classics of Thomas Hardy? Totally depressing. His work is a well written way of saying, "You can't stop fate, it will kick you a$$ and it won't let you up." I don't like his work....

  8. #8
    nancy drew

    Re: Reader Rejection

    I remember reading Tess when I was a teenager and I loathed her. I thought she was a ninny, needed to take charge of her life, not be such a victim.

    A few years later, worn down by life a little more, I reread Tess. LOVED her. Goddang, she takes life by the betoobies and does everything she can even though everything is pitted against her.

    For me now, Tess's redeemable quality is the truth. In the past, I think something that rang so true and painful(as Linden alluded to) was too much to absorb.

    Mind you, the "rape scene" in Tess isn't graphic, but it cuts to the quick. Emotional, powerful stuff.

  9. #9
    Linden Holidae


    I get sick of the constant depression though, dang, it's too much to bear... Hardy is known for his depressing work.

    I also hate it when people say, "I live in the REAL world." All the good and the bad is the real world, but the good makes the bad easier to swallow. All bad is just pointless, i believe to everyone.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts