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Zanzibar
April 11th, 2005, 06:11 AM
There are some pretty controversial authors out there (though I'm very inexperienced when it comes to risque writing) and so I ask: What do you consider taboo? What won't you write about? I myself have few reservations in general (I think) but my idiot friend recently showed me a snuff film he'd downloaded onto his computer. I'll spare you any disturbing details but it looked authentic and I felt my gorge rise as I watched it, which surprised the hell out of me.

I ask this because I'm normally very interested in what other's consider to be "too much" or "off-limits", though I think I just found my line. Where does yours lie?

PaxNoctis
April 11th, 2005, 09:20 AM
In my own opinion, nothing is really off-limits, as long as it's not gratuitious.

I've written about horrible violence, sexual fetishes, child-molesters. I've written things that have turned my stomach, but I get away with it because I never do it with an emphasis on the gore and the social taboo, I do it with an emphasis on character, and when I do, it's never glorified, never stylized. I feel that we're writers, and it's our jobs to explore what it means to be human (or elf, or whatever. It's all shades of the same thing) within the limits of our abilities.

Terry Goodkind, for example (not to start a war here) is an author whose use of this kind of material is bad. Just look at W1R. We have a child-molesting bad guy (whose depredations are just used to make the reader point and go, "Look how EVIL!"), an S&M torturing chick who captures the MC (who then proceeds to escape and have no negative side effects), etc. etc.

If you're going to explore taboo and play with it, do it right. Show the reader what it might really be like. Don't just use it as an object to further your plot. That's cheap.

JMHO. YMMV. Etc.

~Pax

Zanzibar
April 11th, 2005, 10:08 AM
I agree with you. I've written some stuff that's pretty far from the norm, and I don't think I'd have much trouble writing really graphic content, but actually witnessing a video of it was a little different.

As for Goodkind, I've noticed a lot of people griping about him on this site. I've not actually read anything by him though I think I might just to see what all the fuss is about. What's W1R (it's full title)?

PaxNoctis
April 11th, 2005, 10:24 AM
Wizard's First Rule.

It's not terrible by any stretch of the imagination (Read 'The Fifth Sorceress' if you want to see terrible), but it's not very good either. The whole series degenerates from there (literally, every book is worse than the last one).

~Pax

Gary Wassner
April 11th, 2005, 11:40 AM
I started a thread on my author's forum a while back titled 'Don't you think of anything but sex?' that was about some of the same issues you are raising here. It's interesting how diverse people's opinions are about the some controversial subjects and how much in agreement they are about some others.

Saedolin
April 13th, 2005, 08:53 PM
Just out of interest...anybody ever read a fantasy/sf novel with a gay character? Do you think one would stick out?

Gary Wassner
April 14th, 2005, 07:20 AM
Read Ricardo Pinto. The main character in his series is gay.

Saedolin
April 15th, 2005, 07:02 PM
Thanks, I'll look it up :)

kahnovitch
April 17th, 2005, 05:29 AM
In my own opinion, nothing is really off-limits, as long as it's not gratuitious.

If you're going to explore taboo and play with it, do it right. Show the reader what it might really be like. Don't just use it as an object to further your plot. That's cheap.


Totally agree.
If it's done purely for shock value or to stir controversy, I think it's the hallmark of a bad writer trying to draw attention to his/her work by any means necessary.

melliyna
April 18th, 2005, 04:47 AM
I tend to subscribe to the view that pretty much anything can be written about. But I'd but a qualifer on that. If and only if the author is good enough to handle it well. The example that springs to mind is Jacqueline Careys Kushiels Legacy series in which she deals with some seriously dark themes and does so without tackiness or insensitivity. It's become my archetype for writing about squicky things.