1. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    Concern over depiction

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by King Arthur, Mar 22, 2016.

    I'm writing about the Dark Ages, where rape was pretty common, especially among soldiers which many of my characters are. Should I include (read: mention!) it in my novel or not? On the one hand it would be more accurate, but on the other it makes every single character a scumbag.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  2. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Absolutely and don't sugar coat it.
     
  3. King Arthur
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    Now all my empathy-building scenes are useless.
     
  4. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    "Taking" enemy women was just part of the normal routine for soldiers of that era. If someone sees it as horrific then they don't know history. You could also write it in a way that makes it sound ... em.... ..hmmm.... this may sound awful but
    The don't need to be violent nasty rapists. They can be more along the lines of taking women home to be wives of a sort.
    Soldiers viewed this practice as part of the normal spoils of war. Good soldiers were given the privilege of such practices while bad soldiers weren't.
    A commander could award a great leader in his group with women as he willed.
     
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  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally. I think this is not a yes or no question. And including it doesn't mean people are instantly scumbags. It is all about the phrasing and other character traits. Not saying rape is good, heavens no. But there is a completely different dynamic. What I am trying to say is I think you are envisioning modern day style rape(high resistance) in a old setting.

    I am no history expert. But I am guessing, if it was more common and more accepted(probably less resisting), than no one took a stigma to it. If you don't give a stigma feel in your writing and address how it is no different than someone picking fruit at the local store. You can get away with a lot.

    But here is the thing. Your writing fiction right? That means you don't have too, and if you don't want to and don't have to, then don't. Simple. Realistic or not doesn't matter here. If you were in an interview because the book was world famous and someone said. "You were so accurate except rape. Why is that?"

    If you replied. "Because I don't like writing rape."

    That would work for me. Never feel that your style HAS to force your hand. Write what you want and discover what style that is. Maybe yours is better suited to semi-realism.
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Important to note, and especially if your story contains battles, if you're going to include it for the sake of realism, men were not spared from being victims of sexual violence at the hands of the victors.
     
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  7. King Arthur
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    I'd like to be as authentic as possible. I don't mind writing rape, though I wouldn't know how to go about it.

    And yes, there are several accounts of male rape, especially in Roman times. Under Roman law, the punishment for sleeping with another man's wife would be to be publicly raped by the cuckold as soon as you were judged guilty.
     
  8. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you did it well, the reader will understand. It's about finding a balance between the good and the bad, I guess.
     
  9. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also remember. Assholes are not always assholes 100% of the time. An asshole can have a good moment, or a good person can have an asshole moment. So don't think rape all by itself ruins a character.

    To quote a show.

    Character 1 : But she is a good person.
    Character 2: She killed a cop, so she gets like a C or C+ tops as a person. Just saying.
    Character 1: You have helped people with worse than a C+
    Character 2: Fine.

    lol. Does that illustrate my point.
     
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  10. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    True. All my characters are murderers too, so I suppose it doesn't matter.
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dissenting voice: It would make it very likely that I'd drop the book if I were expected to sympathize with a rapist.

    You aren't writing for an ancient audience, you're writing for a modern one. If you want to write a book that a modern audience will enjoy, you need to "translate" the characters as well as the language. For me, that translation should include no rape by characters I'm not expected to detest.
     
  12. King Arthur
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    Though murder and incest should be fine?
     
  13. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you are missing the point to what @BayView
    Correct me if I am wrong @BayView

    The concept of modernizing is to take the ideas of a story and show them in a more modern light. I think a good example is Romeo and Juliet. The original story they were 14 and Juliet was about to be married off. This is a huge part of that story and something that was to the time. If you redid that story today though, you don't need those elements. They would confuse most people as they are no longer normal. The point of the story was the young love held apart. So now, young love might be held apart by new ways. That is the idea, to convey the meaning. Even if you kept the setting, you could still toss those original points and replace them with something new that resonates with the current generation.

    This is what most people do in fact. Because I also don't want to read a story about rape. To the point, I will drop the book all by itself. I mean, a story can have rape and I will read it, but a common no big deal? Nope. Not me.

    Which is fine. You aren't writing the book for me or @BayView . You can keep the realism if you want it. But realize that me and others will not like it. You might get a crowd that loves the realism. One never know. ;)
     
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  14. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    My book also has 12 year olds marrying. I don't want to have moderm values in my novel.
     
  15. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thread is kind of pointless then. I mean, your saying, you want to be as accurate as possible, you don't care about modern values.

    Okay, that is fine. What is the issue? I mean how can any reply help you.

    Either you get someone that is okay with it or not okay with it in something they read. Neither of which seem like they are going to affect your writing. Again, that is fine, but what is the point of asking a question if you don't care about the answer?
     
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  16. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    I never even talked about what people would think of it. I was wondering if it should be included or not.
     
  17. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    I think it really, really depends on what the point of your novel is. Who is your audience and what do you want them to take away from your story? Will including rape in any given scene add to, take away from, or be neutral in the scene? (I mean that you should do this for every situation, not just to decide overall if there should be instances of rape in the book.) If the answer it is will add to your purpose, than by all means include it. If it will detract or do nothing for the scene/situation, then leave it out.

    Also, you can certainly discuss and allude to rape without having to write a "rape scene" or you could also examine the after effects, how the characters are feeling afterwards about what happened instead of while it's happening. This won't necessarily make your scene less powerful, and often can be considerably more powerful than writing about when the rape is actually happening. You just need to figure out what is right for your story.
     
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  18. King Arthur
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    As mentioned in the OP I would only mention it, not show it.
     
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  19. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Of course, why not? It's YOUR book. If you think that makes it more dark and epic, go for it.
     
  20. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, no.

    Let me explain.

    So we have this

    Which is 52 words by the way.

    So, if you are brief and not detailed, especially concerning a deep question. You cannot fault other people making assumptions. There is nothing in here that is asking the concept of show vs tell. I assumed you were referring to the idea of whether or not the idea should exist in the book. Not on screen or not.

    Include it or not, by not I think you meant not have rapists as a way to help improve reader sympathy. So, no I didn't get your question correct because you weren't very detailed.

    Sorry, but this bugs me. Rape is a serious topic. I find it difficult you can properly explain your situation in 52 words. So, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. If you want better answers, try asking better questions.

    As to what you meant? Eh, I can't really answer. A book reciting real life bores me. If I want realism I will pick up history. But if you have your vision, you should write it as it is needed. Not showing it will maybe get reader sympathy, but play to your strengths. You are writing this book to get my approval or people like me. So, if you think people will like the full reaslism. Go for it.
     
  21. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    Them again, ask yourself what the point of mentioning the rape in that situation is, and if it adds to the purpose of your book. And voilĂ , you have your answer as to if you should include it! (Well, maybe not instantly. These decisions can be difficult.)
     
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  22. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    What? I'm not writing the book for approval.
     
  23. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    It would help one main theme but hinder the other, which makes it complex. But thank you.
     
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  24. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    What???
    Nobody would dare rewrite Romeo & Juliet
     
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  25. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    What are you writing the book for, then? Or to put it another way, do you have any particular goals that would be affected by having or not having rape in your story? You're asking for our judgment, but I'm still not sure what metric we're supposed to judge by.
     

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