1. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Crudeness and explicit nature in fiction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Alex R. Encomienda, Oct 15, 2016.

    I have wondered if it is such a good idea to incorporate more graphic nature in fiction. I would much rather have a mature audience so my WIP has been quite graphic. Not in subject matter (such as rape, sexual abuse etc.) but the characters' dialogue and small things that add to the plot. To me, it adds some kind of dread like "I would not want to be near that person" or perhaps even a realness to the story.

    The problem is that I don't want it to seem repetitive or annoying/pointless in any way. There is a character in my story that is always speaking graphically and it is just his way of talking but it has nothing to do with the progression of the plot. If anything it is a progression to his character though.

    Is there a proper and improper way to do this? Anything in particular?
     
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  2. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    If it's a matter of character then I don't find it problematic. It somehow shows consistency. But on the other hand, it's a matter of taste and connection as well. For example, in the series Dexter, I liked the character of his sister. She said the word "fuck" every three words or so. Her character was likable and consistent. But nearing the end, I kind of got tired of this gimmick of hers. It was somehow, way too obvious of a means to keep her consistent. It was becoming too expected. But this is kind of a detail in the whole-run. Others may not be bothered the least by it.

    It would be better if you wrote an example though. Is it about a quirk?
     
  3. Kara Gatsby
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    Kara Gatsby Member

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    What do you mean it's a "progression to his character?" Does he become increasingly graphic as it goes on?
     
  4. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Well I cannot remember precisely what things I wrote for his character but one of the things he does is while speaking to another character in a serious situation, he puts his hand on the man's shoulder and asks how his sister is doing and after the man replies, he says "I fucked her, Garcia. I fucked her very nice and I liked it."

    But other things that are quite graphic are only done to show realness as if the story was real life. I have a female character who was born without an anal hole, the same character speaks graphic sexual language about children etc.
     
  5. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    That was a lack of better word; I mean to say that perhaps it is a good thing to complete that character by leaving his graphic antics/language in the story.
     
  6. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    I'm trying very hard to imagine the context of such dialogues and plot, because I've never read any but they sound kind of tacky.

    The first line, sounds (to me at least) like a verse a virgin boy would say to his friend in order to fuck with him.
    The second... I can't even begin to imagine the context of the plot. A girl without an anal hole? Then how does she shit? How does she survive? Is she human? Does this fact has anything to do with the plot or a deeper meaning? Don't get me wrong. It's kind of catchy, but... what is going on in your mind? :p

    Graphic sexual language about children is never a good idea, but what do you mean? Graphic, to which extend? For what reason? What do you mean to say, as a writer, with this?
     
  7. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    The book is split into three parts. The first and second tells of Spanish people in a war against an occult that practices in ethereal travel. The one who uses that language and antics is a coronel (colonel).

    The final part is still related; however it deals with Santeria and gypsy (Romani) people. The woman who was born with no anal hole had four surgeries (and thanks to google, I researched it and it is possible to live like that.) she is a gypsy whore and speaks to the Mahabharata for protection against the gangs and their witches (older whores in Spain).
     
  8. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    I don't know enough about Santeria, so I can't console you. Wasn't this connected to child sacrifices? Anyhow, just to speak on point, graphic sexual child scenes are not a good idea whatsoever. I might read a Santeria themed story, but I wouldn't want to read about cruelty against children to a graphic extend. It would freak the fuck out of me. I'd stop reading. If Santeria ceremonials demand it, it's ok to explain what it is in few words without excessive detail. There are movies (and books I suspect, but I just didn't happen to have read any of them) that speak of child molestation and killing, but they aren't so graphic (on the violence), for obvious reasons. In order to freak out your reader, you don't need to go to such an extend, because most probably, he would quit reading. You have to ask yourself: Is what you want to show me something that I'm willing to see? Furthermore, do I find it meaningful or just cruel? I was never one for snuff.
     
  9. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Hahaha.. There is no child sexual abuse or rape whatsoever. The only thing it contains is graphic language towards children by the same character who uses graphic language in general. And it isn't persistent either; there are probably only 2-4 occasions where he mentions it.

    When you are reading it you'll be surprised how less violent it really is. It is mostly fantasy. I was inspired by some of the concept albums I listened to at the time and wanted to represent realness and cochinos like films such as Pan's Labyrinth and albums like Frances The Mute.
     
  10. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    Lol. Misunderstanding. :superwhew:
    I got confused when you said about the woman using graphic sexual language about children... and Santeria. If you post it in the workshop section, I'd be glad to read it and give you my (more accurate) opinion. I don't know what cochinos are, I loved Pan's Labyrinth and Mars Volta songs are my bed time stories (yup, I'm somewhat disturbed) so... I'll be waiting. I'm really curious.
     
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  11. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    I'll post a tidbit soon.
     
  12. Kara Gatsby
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    Kara Gatsby Member

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    Okay, I see.

    Since your characters are Spanish and Romani, you could toss in some slang/curse words in their native language. Some readers would find that just as effective and not as jarring as "Fuck that fucking shit, you asshole," y'know?

    I mean, sometimes there's just no good substitute for an F-bomb, but a few foreign-language firecrackers wouldn't hurt. Because you're right, sometimes that's just how a certain character is.
     
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  13. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    That is a very good idea that I haven't thought of; will take your advice.. However, on my second draft!
     
  14. amerrigan
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    amerrigan Member

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    I've had a lot of discussions about swearing in the written word over the years, with authors, publishers and readers.

    The result of all of these discussions ended up in the same place.

    A word, any word, graphic or not, is more powerful when used sparingly, and less powerful when used a lot. If your intention is to use a word for a purpose, it is best to write it only once. If your intention is to rob a word of its meaning, it is best to write it on every page.

    Graphic language still has an effect on a lot of people, and if you are going to use it, use it with wisdom and purpose; even if that purpose is to make it seem like these words are part of your characters everyday vocabulary.

    That way, when you are asked to stand by and defend your use of it, which is something that publishers have told me still happens; you know what you are doing.
     
  15. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    A topic near and dear to me.
    My MC in two of my books is a young woman who curses a lot and also acts out sexually in rather wanton ways. I struggled with writing her the way I did as I knew it would limit the market...or thought it would. What I found was that if I wrote her a) honestly and b) without adding things just for shock value readers would still enjoy the character and the book. They may not like the swearing and rough sex but they could accept it as who the character was and how it related to the story (she allowed herself to be used by men; her childhood was an unpleasant experience; etc).

    I thought often of the sister character in Dexter as I wrote some of her dialog. I used similar profanity in a way I believe was sparingly, yet effective. It is a difficult dance.

    One thing you cannot do is water-down a character in the hope it makes them more palatable to a reader. Some characters need to be vulgar, sexual, nasty and unlikable. Always be honest in your writing. Give the story/character what they need but never embellish for the sake of shock value.
     
  16. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Senior Member

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    I was also born without an 'anal hole'.
    Finally, someone is bringing our shame into the light.

    The only thing that comes out of my ass are flower petals and rainbows.
     
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  17. atsgtm2018
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    atsgtm2018 Member

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    So, as far as cursing in dialogue, in my WIP, I tend to use it for my characters for added expression, usually out of fear or anger. But I had a thought that cussing is more honest and how people really talk. They're not cussing in every conversation but do you think used correctly expletive language can add value to a character? Or is using it something I should be treading lightly over?
     
  18. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    If we wrote dialogue truly in the way people actually talk, it would be damn near incomprehensible. Seriously, record a conversation some time and then transcribe it verbatim. It's not pretty, even when the speakers are intelligent and well-educated.

    Fiction is a representation of reality, not a transcription of it. Think about your audience, think about the effect you want to have on that audience, think about the best way to achieve that effect. The effect of realism may be best reached by leaving true realism behind. Strange, but true.
     
  19. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Am I the only who speaks as though every word were being recorded?
     
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  20. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    You, and your bro C3PO.
     
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  21. FireMelody
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    FireMelody Banned

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    Can I just give my personal opinion? Won't help you a bit because I'm a little strange, but I don't mind crudeness & explicit language (esp sexual). However, there are some things I don't enjoy reading about - like really sick stuff. The woman without an anus or whatever, does absolutely nothing for me except gag me. And I do feel a little this way:

    It's not that I have anything against disabilities, not by a long stretch, it's just that there are some things that are just not 'entertaining' to me.

    I really enjoyed reading this thread, tho, I have to be honest.

    Lol @Iain Sparrow .
     
  22. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Senior Member

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    For me, when I read about the woman born without an 'anal hole'... I just shook my head 'WHAT?!'.

    If a writer is going to introduce something that's meant to shock the reader, there really needs to be a motive, some subtext that makes it less contrived.
    It did however conjure up a memory of a novel I read last year by Charles Stross, called 'Rule 34'.
     
  23. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Look, look.. This anal thing is blown out of proportion. In my WIP, it isn't revealed for shock factor or even shown in action. It is simply implied by another character (a gypsy whore) and again through narrative. The readers do not actually know if it is true or not because it is only told through others and not shown or described at all. Kind of how the Black Dahlia was implied by others of having a penis.
     
  24. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Senior Member

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    The problem with that is, I don't believe anyone knows of such a disability. I sure didn't.
    If it's being used as an ethnic slur or insult... sorry, but it probably won't resonate with a non-gypsy reader.;)

    And are you telling me the Black Dahlia had a penis?
    I find that hard to swallow.o_O
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  25. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Yes I understand it is a rare congenital deformity but it does exist. And no I didn't personally know the Black Dahlia so I have no idea but it was simply implied.
     

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