1. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    A little too shocking?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Vamp_fan22, Sep 8, 2011.

    I'm kind of at a loss here. One of my villains has something really traumatic happen to him when he was 15. The problem is that it's something really shocking that I'm not sure I'm comfortable writing. How do I go about this? Should I suck it up and force myself to write it?
     
  2. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    Yes and no. If you really feel that you can't write it, don't force yourself. Anything forced probably won't come out nicely. If you can think of an alternative that you're more comfortable with, you should use that instead. On the other hand, it's good to write about things, even the unsettling subject matter. If it's too much to ask, would you mind briefly describing what this event is, exactly?
     
  3. Phantomwriter
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    Phantomwriter Member

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    That's what I was going to ask. I can't say that if you should write something or not but if you don't feel totally comfortable with it then maybe you shouldn't, but I would also say as a writer you should push your limits. If it's too much though then just leave it be and come up another alternative event that you do feel comfortable writing.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Well, you can either write it or change the story. If you think the concept is sounds, and even moreso if you think it is important, take a shot at writing it. If your level of discomfort prevents you from writing it well you can always change it later. This way, at least you tried your hand at it first.
     
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  5. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    He gets attacked, stabbed and has some sexual things happen to him. In the story I'm not going to go into a bunch of detail about it but there's a scene where he opens up about it with my MC.

    Thank you guys for the advice I think I'll try my hand at writing it and see if I can do it.
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You can make it clear that a rape occurred without going into 10 pages of detail about it (or even one page). Just describe, say, the attacking coming in and shoving your MC up against the wall, and then cut to the next scene/aftermath. It'll be obvious what took place, and readers can fill in gaps in their own minds.

    The scene where your MC opens up would be a little bit harder, because there's dialogue, but you can still do it in a subtle manner that leaves much to the imagination. It's possible to tell someone you were attacked/sexually assaulted without being blunt or going into gory detail of how it happened.
     
  7. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    If you want to write a story about something you're not presently comfortable with, there is only ONE way to get comfortable with it.

    Just do it.

    If you aren't comfortable with it, it will show in the quality of your work. Rewrite it over and over, trying each time to make it better than before and gradually, your comfort level with writing it will slowly increase with your experience writing it.
     
  8. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    NO and NEVER! If you're not comfortable writing it don't write it. Writing is a thing you do because you have a story you WANT to tell, you don't write about things you don't like writing. The scene you described could be easily done with 'fade to black' or similar tricks. If you have your character describe what happened there are two ways you cn go about it, if you're writing a... chatty style narrator you could just have the narrator say something like "He told me about the man moving in, the knife in his hand, his body making his intentions clear... well let's just say bad things happened to him and leave it at that", or you could have the character describe the attack and end with him saying something like "I lay there bleeding, semi-concious, terrified of him killing me... he did something worse..." and be unable to finish the sentence. There are a number of ways you can avoid a scene you don't want to write while still including it in the story, it's tricky but definitely better than writing a scene you aren't ok with.
     
  9. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    There is a scene in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner where a young boy gets raped by several other boys. Perhaps reading something which covers that subject will help you get your head around it and show you how another author has handled it.

    However, if you are really not comfortable writing about it, I don't understand why you are putting it in? If it is simply for the 'shock value', and doesn't add anything to the story, I wouldn't bother, because quite often a reader can see through it, unless it is well developed as to how and why this event has affected the character and/or the storyline.
     
  10. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    I'm putting it in because I feel it's kind of an explanation for why he's the way he is.
     
  11. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    That's a valid reason, the thing is that if the scene makes you uncomfortable I don't think you should write it. But that's just my opinion, if you think you can handle writing it then go for it but if it's too trying just skim over the details or use narrative, dialogue and just general body language to convey what happened without going into details that make you uncomfortable.
     
  12. Timothy Giant
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    Timothy Giant Member

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    On the other hand, if you've written it, it makes it easier for you to write any other shocking situations in the future (not only rape, but also gory murder or anything bloody like that, I think). I think you should write it, and reread it several days/a week later to see if you still like it and it's not too offensive. If you don't try and rewrite it. Writing things like this can't be harmful to you, but it can make you a more all-round writer. That's just my twopence though.

    And if you are really uncomfortable with it, try and write a less shocking version or write about a less 'touchy' subject first, as a kind of practice.
     
  13. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write something way more shocking in a private notebook. For exercise. After that, your scene will seem less hard to pull off. I've found that once I've pushed myself past a boundary of discomfort, it will have vanished, and I'll have a whole bunch of new tools at my disposal.
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Mallory's advice is, as always, sound. There is always an alternative way to do things. I happen to be a fan of leaving things to the reader's imagination.
     

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