1. Crimson Dragon
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    Crimson Dragon Member

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    Controversial plots and when to tone them down?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Crimson Dragon, Aug 26, 2013.

    As the title asks. Recently I have thought up of a very, well, controversial plot, and I am wondering if it needs to be toned down/re-written due to the fact it could be highly offensive to some readers. I don't want to give away too many details of it, but I will say that it touches the powder keg topic that is religion and God is the main antagonist of the story while the protagonist is a darker character who traffics with demons on a regular basis and does other "unsavory" things in the name of achieving his goals. Now, I have not one, but two toned down versions of the story which replaces God and his archangels with made-up Gods and deities of various ancient mythologies, respectively. However, I do like the original story better; it has more impact because of the controversy. It brings up more questions and discussions due to those "controversial" elements. The other two versions, while they are still good concepts that I'm sure would be interesting to read and write, are just fantasy tales. While they raise some questions do not do so to the same level as the original idea since having "fake" Gods involved as appose to one that is actually worships today takes away some of the story's power to jar readers and get their minds moving.

    Anyway, my question is this: how controversial can a story be made before it becomes too controversial to be shared to a wider audience? Is a story with God cast as the main antagonist and the protagonist is anything but a hero just too much?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Absolutely not. You are always going to offend someone. Always. In the 80's, when I was a young person, The Smurfs offended a segment of American society because the show, in their eyes, pushed communism and witchcraft. The Smurfs, FFS! I'm willing to bet a paycheck that there is more than a handful of people who find Hello Kitty offensive because she lacks a mouth and is thus a symbol of female repression.

    If you are worried about offending people, put down your pen, put away your notebook and take up something else.
     
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  3. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say write the original story, not necessarily because it's less of an allegory, but because you say you like it better, and you should write what you like and enjoy. I don't think it's too much, but I'm an Atheist so, yeah...

    "The wide audience" is a funny thing. It's totally cool with rockin' to Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" but goes apeshit when Janet Jackson accidentally flashes a nipple in Super Bowl, THE NIPPLE OF DOOM.

    On the other hand, the more controversial, the better when it comes to sells. If the novel becomes a forbidden fruit, it's bound to sell like crazy.

    Perhaps a controversial plot that wouldn't fly would include some pedo hero who keeps molesting kids while fighting a government (that upholds human rights) with a group of serial killers and sex offenders. They eventually throw the government over and start raping and pillaging around the kingdom, the end. But it's not necessarily the plot that makes it controversial, but the content too (like in my example, graphic, gratuitous depictions of child abuse would make it pretty sick afaic).
     
  4. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    Which story do you want to tell? And what is your purpose in telling it?

    Any made up deities are going to be satirically linked to the real world religions on Earth anyway, so you might as well go for it.
     
  5. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    I think go with the original story. Although since I'm somewhere between agnostic and atheist so my opinion doesn't have all that much weight. There is no way to please absolutely everyone so do what you are happiest and most comfortable to write.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    What most authors think is controversial usually turns out not to be. If you're afraid of offending, don't be a writer. Write your story as best you can, and let the chips fall where they may.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Are there particular people in your life whom you worry about offending with your story? That's a hard one.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    To the OP: You'll come to find that there is even that person who enjoys being offended. They'll find offensive intent in a polished piece of granite countertop. They enjoy it because the answer to being offended is righteous indignation, and for some, that is a feeling that no controlled substance or carnal act can trump.
     
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  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Also, keep in mind that what's controversial today will be as inoffensive as kittens tomorrow. Controversy doesn't last. There are plenty of novels out there that were shocking when they were first published, but are ho-hum now.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    listen to wreybies!... i agree with everything he's said... it's good advice...

    i'm sure that's not an original concept, has most likely been done more than once already... and much more religiously controversial stuff has been written and published successfully, so you're worrying over a non-issue...
     
  11. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Like "Lolita." It was considered scandalous when published. Today? While still frowned upon by some, the indignation over it has started to fade.
     

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