1. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world

    Too taboo to be published?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Kas, Mar 20, 2009.

    I’ve been thinking about writing a romance novel about two siblings who fall in love. Please understand that I’m not talking about anything pornographic, abusive, or trashy. It would be a true romance, and hopefully emotionally stirring. It’s not about preaching either. I’m not saying that incest is good or bad. I won’t condemn my characters, nor will I give them unrealistic happiness. There would be loads of tension and conflict as they wrestle with social ideals of morality, the strain of secrecy on their relationship, and all of the rest of the problems that most couples experience.

    Basically, I have an interesting beginning in mind and the rest is wide open. It will be up to the characters to determine what they make of it. If there is a theme or point to the book it is the exploration of unlikely love, constrained by social standards. There are thousands of similar stories out there, but I’ve never encountered a romance specifically about incest that was told in an unbiased manner. If you know of a novel like this, please tell me.

    It’s a theme I’ve encountered briefly in certain novels, and each time it has piqued my interest. I’ve had the idea simmering on the back burner for ages, but only just recently I decided I want to write it.

    I’m not asking if there’s a market. I know there would be, despite what people might say, if the writing is good enough.

    The question is.. could I get it published??

    Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is about as taboo as it gets, but the main character in that book is clearly a villain. Obviously the author wasn’t saying that pedophilia is ok. My book, however, could be misinterpreted that way, (to say that incest is ok) even though that isn’t the point at all.

    Perhaps I’m fretting needlessly… but if someone could link me to a likely publisher I’d really appreciate it!!

    Also… for the moderators: would it be ok for me to post a sample in the review room with an adequate content warning?
     
  2. Kratos
    Offline

    Kratos Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    791
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Maryland, United States
    A Song of Ice and Fire, my favorite book series ever, features two incestuous twins, who have sex multiple times in the book. They got published, although that's not the main purpose of the book. I don't think it would be too taboo, although some people wouldn't want to read it. I'd read it anyway, if it was good.

    Unless books go out and tell you to do something illegal, any book should be allowed be published. If it offends you, don't read it.
     
  3. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world
    Yes, Ice and Fire was a major inspiration. A Storm of Swords may be my favourite book of all time, partly for the introduction of Jaime's perspective. But you also touched on my concern.. his relationship with Cersei was only one story out of many in that series.. not the focus of the books.

    I share your view completely. I just wonder if there are any known publishers with equally open minds. There probably are.. but I'd like to know which ones, how many etc to gauge my chances.
     
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,880
    Likes Received:
    10,062
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Um.... Flowers in the Attic anyone?? The movie did away with the theme, but the book did not.
     
  5. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world
    Thanks, Wreybies! Somehow I'd never heard of that one before. I just did a search and read a summary. Looks interesting!
     
  6. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Other than stuff that is illegal, like child porn, I can't think of anything that is so taboo that nobody is willing to touch it. There are publishers that love that sort of thing. Depending on the subject, you might have a harder time finding someone interested, but you could still have the same trouble with something that is unusual and not taboo.
     
  7. NaCl
    Offline

    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    58
    Look to the publishers of similar stories. Obviously, the search should start there. You might even want to contact those companies to see if you can discover which literary agent(s) represented the original manuscripts.

    As far as your controversial content, the quality of story-telling will be the determining factor in getting published as opposed to the theme.
     
  8. koolgirl17
    Offline

    koolgirl17 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maple Grove, Minnesota
    I think you should go ahead with your story. You should see what they have us reading in high school for IB, nothing is too taboo as long as your creative and smart with the way you write it.
     
  9. g1ng3rsnap9ed
    Offline

    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    A small town called Pox...
    I would say go ahead with it and boo-hoo with the taboos. As long as its still your story then nobody can tell you what to do with it. You're in charge, chief. As far as being "too taboo to publish," I'm pretty sure that anything goes nowadays. Just don't try sending it out to any children's publishers, and if the manuscript is good enough then you'll do just fine. ;)
     
  10. TereFaerie
    Offline

    TereFaerie Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds like an interesting premise. Have you read any John Irving, specifically "The Hotel New Hampshire"? (which was also turned into a movie) Great book, one of my fave authors, and it does deal with the topic of incest outside of a fantasy environment.
    I'll warn you, though, his books are addicting. Especially "A Widow for One Year".

    Good luck.
     
  11. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world
    Thanks for the support, guys and gals.:)

    No, but it's going on my reading list now. This also looks interesting.^^

    Does anyone else have book suggestions?
     
  12. Marshmallow
    Offline

    Marshmallow Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston
    Even though it's a film, look at what Deep Throat did. At the time, you think there was any insurance that it would have been a success? Absolutely not.

    There's always going to be a nut who wil take a risk.

    *And no, I tend to read books that are...void of incestuous relationships. =D
     
  13. PS Foster
    Offline

    PS Foster Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    I also thought of Flowers in the Attic. V. C. Andrews made a whole series from it, but the succeeding ones weren't as good as the original.
    I'm glad you asked this question, as my work in progress is about incestuous child abuse.
     
  14. lynneandlynn
    Offline

    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    In this day and age, I don't think anything is "too taboo" to be published. There are certain stores that probably won't sell it, but there's most definitely a market. And where there's a market, there are buyers.
     
  15. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    There may be nothing that's really "too taboo" but there are likely topics that are still "taboo" enough to become a serious issue when getting published, IMO.
     
  16. lynneandlynn
    Offline

    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Yeah but not if you go to the right publishing company :p

    Sorry had to bring that up lol
     
  17. perfectionist
    Offline

    perfectionist Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Book suggestions

    Hmmm...

    A couple of interesting novels come to mind, which involve incest in a non-exploitative or voyeuristic/sexual way, namely

    Iain Banks: A Song of Stone

    Kurt Vonnegut: Slapstick, or Lonesome no More
    wikipedia article

    I would think that these novels absolutely demonstrate that it is possible to write and publish a serious and thoughtful book involving taboo material.
    On the other hand, both authors were very much already established.

    Lynneandlynne, taking you literally, I disagree! I mean, yes, there are quite graphic disturbing books like American Psycho out there, but on the other hand, I recently acquired a copy of Anais Sin's Delta of Venus - the first chapter of which is eyewateringly explicit and depicts incestuous child abuse as erotica. It is really quite disturbing to reconcile these taboo-images and our modern outlook on child protection, etc. with the attitudes implicit in these short stories from the 1940's, underground though they were.

    I am sure the only reason this book was published in 1978 was the historical value of its collected contents.

    Just to be explicit, in case i am misunderstood by skim-readers: I do not condone child-abuse-as-erotica. Clearly.
     
  18. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Finding that could be a problem. There's also dealing with gray issues that could be considered taboo by some but not by others.
     
  19. Unus_Vir
    Offline

    Unus_Vir New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    That sounds pretty cool, especially considering how I've always taken the position that incest is not wrong. It's abnormal, as siblings don't fall in love all the time (or maybe they do, who knows?), but if it happens, whatever. I've always been interested in sexuality.
     
  20. Nervous1st
    Offline

    Nervous1st Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Australia
    A book that comes to mind is “Daddy’s Girl” by Janet Inglis.

    It’s about a young teenage girl who is sexually assaulted by her Mother’s boyfriend but in the process, she falls in love with him. Although this is not specifically relating to your topic of incest, it is about forbidden relationships and secrets. She feels guilty for enjoying sexual relations with him because she knows it’s wrong, she goes through a stage of hating him for making her feel this way and all the rest of it.

    Anyway, my point is… I would recommend you read it.

    Good luck!
     
  21. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    I recently acquired a copy of Anais Sin's Delta of Venus - the first chapter of which is eyewateringly explicit and depicts incestuous child abuse as erotica. It is really quite disturbing to reconcile these taboo-images and our modern outlook on child protection, etc. with the attitudes implicit in these short stories from the 1940's, underground though they were.

    I am sure the only reason this book was published in 1978 was the historical value of its collected contents.

    Just to be explicit, in case i am misunderstood by skim-readers: I do not condone child-abuse-as-erotica. Clearly.[/QUOTE]

    fyi, her name is Anais Nin... and here's a google review of that book:

     
  22. Majesty Apollo
    Offline

    Majesty Apollo Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northern England, UK
    I would definitely go for it. As far as taboo subjects go, this isn't even that explicit. As the previous members have given examples of books I thought I'd give another one (albeit of a different sort) the classic, A Clockwork Orange. Whilst being controversial, is it not a book that involves gang rape and murder, but is still hailed as a cult-classic?

    Go for it! :D
     
  23. psyence53
    Offline

    psyence53 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Within The Confines Of My Mind
    Kas - if you do write it, i'm already interested enough to PAY to read it. I'm really interested in taboos. Has anyone seen the film Geminis? Its european.

    Lolita is one of my favourite books. Chuck Palahnuik one of my favourite authors, though perhaps just more graphic than taboo. And I like Virginia Andrews, one of the later ghost written books has incestual hints, like rumours/falling in love then finding out they are related. It peaks my interest, especially when they are unexpected.

    Most of my ideas are inspired by a "shocking" film or TV I saw, or something similar. ITV dramas "The Children" and "Compulsion" were brilliant. My growing stories involve things like child abuse, incest, suicide, violence, and frowned-upon relationships. But I tend not to categorise them into good nor bad. I just try to show that not everything IS evil or wrong, and to allow people to make their own judgements.

    So please do write it! :)
     
  24. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,880
    Likes Received:
    10,062
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Trawl any bookseller's e-book listing.

    There is nothing you won't find.
     
  25. A2theDre
    Offline

    A2theDre Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Australia
    Star Wars anybody? Leia and Luke were brother and sister and they fell in love and kissed in a very mainstream, PG movie. As stated before, there's no such thing as too taboo, just extremely prudish or politically correct publishers.

    Go for it. Self publish if you must, and use a pen name that can be associated with all your taboo novels. You'll most likely get a fan club out of it. Or even a cult....
     

Share This Page