1. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Is this too gruesome for a kids story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by louis1, Apr 3, 2012.

    Some one told me my story was too gruesome for a child, even this adult got enraged by that story, I kinda understand why but I'd like some feedback from more people.

    It's about a woman who's tricked by her entourage into eating her only child made who was made into a soup.

    I go into no details about how the child was killed/made into soup and she just eats it normally cause she doesn't know it's soup.

    I know the concept is kinda gross, but is it to shocking?

    Could this be published (as a YA) or would publisher run away from this kind of stuff?
     
  2. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    ya, I'd say it's a little to much for a child. I would hope it would be shocking to most people. It could be published but it would depend on the writing. There are people you love gross.
     
  3. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    By today's standards, that'd probably be a little too gruesome for a children's story. But maybe you could try to publish it as just a horror story, and have it written as though it were aimed at children. The whole "dark fairytale" thing is still pretty popular, if I'm not mistaken.
     
  4. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    the concept is gross yeah but there's no description, and it's part of a larger piece of work, it's a story children tell each other to scare each other in my novel.
     
  5. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I second that.
     
  6. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Is the content of the kids story important to the books story line or do you just need a scary story? Do you need that level of grossness in that story for your plot?
     
  7. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Yes, it's a really important part of the story, One kid is telling this story to his friend, it's the first scene in which these two really get to be together and allows the reader to understand who they are and how they behave, in addition it's a key part to the main plot, even if it's only revealed later in the book.
     
  8. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Then if there is no other way of doing it, you'll have to see how it plays out.
     
  9. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Gosh that's how I feel, but the first person who read it had such a bad reaction it kinda turned me off.
     
  10. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Like I said you have to see how it plays out. One person doesn't necessarily represent how everyone else will react but if there is any other way to do it I'd try to find it.
     
  11. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    what if she's tricked into eating her dog? that would be less gruesome right? Gosh i feel like i'm censoring myself ahaha
     
  12. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    LOL, your designing a product for sale. It's not a matter of self censorship but pleasing your customers. Mothers and child are sacred. She can eat her husband or her pet without much issue, except from a small minority of the pet lovers. Husbands, mother-in-laws, sisters, and other relatives are ok.
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The old fairy tales were incredibly gruesome, but kids just ate them up. Eventually, adults got their hands onto them and removed all the parts they thought were "harmful" to the precious, innocent children.

    I used to read a lot of Native North American mythology, and those stories are even more graphic and gory than the fairy tales. But the kids just loved them, apparently. Greek myths and Norse myths are also horrifying in their unexpurgated forms.

    Maybe, in modern society, we pamper our kids too much and shield them from stories and images we think could give them nightmares. But I think their minds are smart and far more flexible and resilient than those of adults, and they can take it.

    So go ahead and write your story. Adults might not approve, but the kids won't even bat an eye.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It depends how you write it, and which YA publishers you approach. Hell, the old witch wanted to pop Hansel und Gretel into the oven. The beanstalk giant wanted to grind Jack's bones to make his bread. King Midas accidentally turned his own daughter into a golden statue. And what Dorothy did to the Wicked Witch was a gruesome as anything the old crone threatened to do to her.
     
  15. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    where the mind is without fear...
    This should work if you restrain from the gory details. May be you should apply the opposite of 'show, don't tell' here. It'll also help if you could find a way to resurrect the child who is made into a soup later in the story.
     
  16. T1p2
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    T1p2 New Member

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    The concept reminds me of the story of Tantalus. He chopped his only child up and boiled the body into a stew to feed to the gods. I read a lot of old stories like that as a child, but thinking back on it I'm not sure how "age-appropriate" they really were...

    Don't needlessly censor yourself. If you feel the story as it is presented is important, then it is important. But if you are really unsure, I would suggest typing/writing it up and letting a group of people whose opinions you actually care about look it over in context so they can give you feedback.
     
  17. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    This kid is not coming back to life. Thanks everyone, I made my decision the kid shall be eaten by his mother.
     
  18. KinkyCousin
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    KinkyCousin Member

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    I think it's ok when used like this. When I was a child (under nine years old for sure!) we once were taught a song at school about Baba Yaga, a witch-like thing who lives in the woods and eat children. Nobody was seriously disturbed, it was a creepy ghost story and many kids (including myself) really love to be scared a little. Then there was the 'Grizzly tales for Gruesome Kids' (the book, not the cartoon) where my class particularly loved the story of the Spaghetti Man who would turn naughty kids into pasta to be eaten.

    As long as there isn't graphic descriptions of violence and it's kept in a fairytale style I think it's ok. Some kids will be afraid of stories like this but parents shouldn't buy scary children's stories for sensitive children! All I can say is that myself and many other kids loved this stuff.
     
  19. Dan Kirkalnd
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    Dan Kirkalnd Member

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    If I were a kid, I'd read it, but if a parent were to read that synopsis I'd say it's more about how you write it rather than the topic. I recall some children's stories that contain some similar stuff, maybe not to that extent but similar nonetheless.
     
  20. Z. C. Bolger
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    I actually think there is a market for it, though a very small market. I had a student who was reading a story (which I can't remember the name of) which was really graphic with killings and nasty stuff. The pictures in the book were pretty gruesome and it was a book for kids. Also you have books of true fairy tales and Grim's story's which aren't much better. Though it sounds disgusting I have deffinitly seen books with just as bad or worse in them for kids. I think it takes a special kind of person to read them (me not being that person as I'm into more adventure lighter tones) but none the less there is a market.
     
  21. RowenaFW
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    RowenaFW Member

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    I have to agree with this. As said, you can always tone down the description to fit the age group if you feel it's necessary. Have a look at some Roald Dahl - he often wrote about pretty nasty stuff, but his adult and chrildren's fiction are guaged on different levels.
     
  22. RFrancis
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    RFrancis New Member

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    I'd say a little too gruesome for a child, this would be better suited for young adult +.

    BUT, its really how you write it. If the story isn't filled with gory details it could be a kids story..
     
  23. sam80
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    As a mum i would say, too much for my delicate flower, but then as a rational thinker i would say, it all depends on how its written, context, etc. If its vital i agree with the others let it play out and see.... Again to reiterate what others have said, many children s books have gruesome basis.

    In a recent work study day (I am nurse) on child protection, we discussed the basis of several kids books/films, mainly disney princess type stuff, and shrek, there were over 40 counts of criminal activity that would have an impact on child protection, including murder, child abandonment, and unlawful burial of a body.... Of course i don't mean anyone to talk any of this too literally. Just want to point out you wouldn't be the first, and if its a vital part of the story, so be it.

    Plus, take the hunger games... I know its aim is teen, but many older kids young teens love it, in there millions.... pretty scary and dark theme through it.
     
  24. Yvaine
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    Yvaine New Member

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    As previous posters have said go with the fairy tale angle as this would make it more suitable for the children's literature market. Have you read Coram Boy? Newborn infants are given to the Coram Man in hope of a better life. Most of them ended up buried in woods but the peddlars still made the mothers believe they were alive so they could extort money from them. This story is based on the Coram Hospital founded in London in 1741. It sounds gruesome but I really enjoyed it and it's aimed at the YA range of children's literature.

    I would also say that motherhood in children's novels is often (but not always) a strong theme. It may be better to tell the story second hand from a character that likes to shock rather than from you as the author.
     
  25. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    It is a very shocking concept for a child. If 10-20 years from now this concept would be objectively non-shocking for children, I'd say the society is in decline. Not bashing you here. If some of the stuff I read/write would be perceived acceptable for children in 20 years it'll be a sad development for our culture.

    I know that there is a lot of violence in pop culture, and I accept it. But the specific things you mentioned, about a kid not just dying but
    A. turned into a soup,
    B. eaten by someone,
    C. that someone is his own mother...

    Whoa!
     

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