1. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Using "taboo" settings as a background for the story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by WriterDude, Jun 9, 2011.

    The book I'm reading right now is simply called "Beast" and is a danish crime novel where five men have been brutally killed. The twist is they were all pedophiles, and a lot of people in the book don't want the killer(s) to be caught. It's a great book, and a bit unusual from the crime stuff I normally read. But it got me thinking about a story I've considered writing for years.

    The story is about two young girls. They might be sisters, or friends. Maybe they don't even know each other at the beginning, I'm not sure. But they are both around five years old and share the same fate: When they are playing in the street, a car pulls up close to them and a guy offers them candy if they get in the car with him. They both try to say they aren't allowed to take candy from strangers like that, but they get in the car anyway after he reassures them he's talked to their parents first and is a nice guy. Next thing they know, they "feel very sleepy" and falls asleep. When they wake up, they don't know where they are. The place is strange. The people are strange. No one tells them anything. You get the idea. And then "the bad men" shows up and starts to do stuff to them...

    You get the idea. It's all about child trafficing and child prostitution, but with two young girls as the main characters. I'll try to write it the way they would see it and steer away from the worst descriptions and scenes, but it will still be a brutal book that'll be hard to read and write. But even so, would you read it? I've talked to several people about it over the years and have gotten mixed feelings. Some say I should go ahead and write it. Others warn me that "no one would buy i.t" (her exact words.) I'm honestly not sure. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I'd read it if there's some form of justice that eventually gets served. As long as the story promotes survivalism, or good prevailing over evil, or the pedophiles getting what they deserve eventually, I can handle any level of brutality or violence without it being too much. (In books and movies; in real life, I believe in nonaggression unless it's direct self defense.) However, I just don't like "horror stories" that's really just torture porn just for the hell of it. In other words, I'll watch a movie like "Last House on the Left" but not a movie like "Saw." Same for books.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't read it. It might be the most brilliantly written book ever, but I doubt I'd bother - the subject is too ugly.

    On the other hand, I did read Lolita ...
     
  4. Croga
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    Croga Member

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    WARNING
    the below is graphic and disgusting do not read if offended by anything.

    I have pasted the below about this book to show you that if you write it well they will read it.
    don't dance around the subject these kids are going to suffer and this happens in real life let people experience it.take them on a journey with you and forget their feeling if it upsets them then your words have them feeling for your characters and if they don't get justice we will have a bitter taste I won't lie, but does every child get a happy ending?

    short and sweet write it and write what ever you think is needed.
    Don't make a sick story for pedophiles, but if you need to talk about sex with minors and torture then talk about as graphically as is needed your the author and writing is art.
    Its up to joe consumer and the publisher if its worth reading.


    http://www.popcrunch.com/the-10-most-disturbing-books-of-all-time/
    Nine more books of disturbed nature on that link.
     
  5. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Right now I can't say if there will be any kind of justice. In fact, I think one of those girls will die at some point. The other will probably be rescued, but what state is she in? The stuff she has experienced can really screw with your mind even if you are an adult, and she's just a lonely, scared young girl. Even if Rambo shows up and kills all the bad guys, the girl will never be the same. She might need therapy the rest of her life and will always be haunted by nightmares. How does killing the bad guys justify that? Even if you tortured the bad guys to death, the young surviving girl will never recover.

    I know this can easily turn into torture porn or horror, but I don't intend that at all. I want it to be a drama. And no matter how ugly and the subject is, this is going on in real life every single day. The young girl might just as well be your young daughter, or the neighbor's daugther. It might be someone your kids know at school. The point is they are just two young, innocent girls who made a big mistake. That's the really scary part.

    But that's exactly why I want to write it. Stuff like this happens every day. Not just to young girls, but to people of more or less all ages. Human trafficing is a big problem. We might not think too much about it as it "doesn't happen in our neighborhood", but it's there.

    Or to use an example, in the book I'm reading, a guy is talking about Rwanda. He went there during the disaster, and he visited mass graves every single day for four months, and he got to see horror far beyond anything he could have imagined. But the really scary part was that once he got back home, not one person cared. Even the news didn't bother print much of the diaster, simply because it wasn't relevant to them. It was just some country far way full of people no one cared about. We have some of that in real life, too. Think about the war in Iraq, for instance. People are killed down there every day, even civilians. But here in Norway, no one cares unless a Norwegian person is killed. In that case it's a disaster, and the politicians are forced to consider if we should still support the war. No one cares if a few thousand civilians die.

    The point is it doesn't really matter what goes on in the world. It's pretty much always "us" and "them". If it happens to us, it's a disaster. If it happens to someone else, no one cares. I hope by writing a book like this, at least some people can open their eyes and see that there is a world out there beyond your front yard. It's not a pretty sight, but it's there. The question is if you want to keep ignoring it or try to make it a better place.
     
  6. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Personally I wouldn't read it and I'm not quite sure why any one would want to write about it either.
     
  7. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I want to write it because it's an important subject. If it's war, people want to read it. If it's a random hostage, people want to read it. But if it's human trafficing, how come the subjedt is too touchy to, uh, touch?
     
  8. HBAdams
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    HBAdams Member

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    Write it. Who cares if one person or one million people read it? If people don't like the content, then they don't have to read it.

    Also, look up "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" by the American Library Association. Books like The Color Purple and many others have ended up on this list for having explicit material that people may not agree on showcasing. Yet I remember having to read that book in high school, so it must have had a profound effect on somebody somewhere! Who says your book couldn't end up in a similar situation?
     
  9. AvihooI
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    AvihooI Member

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    You have to remember that fiction books are for recreational purposes. If the book leaves the audience horrified, disgusted or indifferent - then it isn't a good book.

    People like war movies. Even realistic war movies. However, none of them would want to experience real war. No one would want to suffer from PTSD or "combat fatigue".

    If you do write about a controversial issue such as this, you have to coat it with humanism, perhaps with innoence. It also has to deliver a positive message. Not necessarily of justice, perhaps maybe reconciliation by the victims.

    A good example would be the horror movie, 'The Mist'. It has a horrifying plot, a rather unhappy ending and some gruesome images to it. But other aspects in the movie seem positive and rewarding.
     
  10. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Well if it was a non-fiction book to raise awareness then maybe I could understand. It's good to make people aware of such things. But fictional novels are supposed to be for entertainment purposes. Bad things happening to characters is fine to create tension and a good plot. But it comes to a point (And I'm not accusing you of anything.) where you're reading about sexual abuse for entertainment. You've just got to know where that line is. But so long as the descriptions weren't too graphic it wouldn't okay I guess, or if it were for raising awareness. It's still not something I would read but if you want to write it go ahead.
     
  11. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    The only thing that would make no one want to read your book is if it is boring. As for graphics, some people might not read it because it is too graphic but you might find people who revel in graphic story. It all depends on how you show us the story. As with any story, if you write it well people will read it.

    Good luck.
     
  12. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    It's been done before. There are lots of books just like this, and people read them. All sort of people, not just perverts.

    So if this is something you really want to write about - got for it. I will add however that writing cold (i.e. with no experience, will leave people harking after realism and thinking its the work of a pervert).
     
  13. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, everyone. What I don't get is why fictional books can't deal with subjects like these, or why they are forced to have happy endings. This is a fictional book based on a serious, sensitive issue. Would it be more accepted if the two girls were chained in some guys basement and tortured on a daily basis? What if they were simply kidnapped for ransom, but both girls were killed in the ending?

    But eithe way, I've talked to a publisher and mentioned a few ideas I have. It will take a few weeks before they respond (being summer and all), but if they like this idea, I will write it. And yes, it will be a disturbing read. I won't hold back at all, but take the books place you really don't want to go. Why? Because that would be one hell of a book. You might not like it. You might hate it. You might even want it banned. But you will not forget about it that easily.

    @darkhaloangel: I fortunately don't have any experience in this subject, but if people call me a pervert, that's fine with me. At least it means they have read the book. :)
     
  14. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's not taboo, merely disturbing. Taboo is writing it from the pedophile's PoV.
     
  15. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    They don't have to. Look at Poe. Most of his stuff had disturbing endings. Granted Poe was the poster child for starving artist.

    You don't have to write stories that have happy endings but most people read for fun or pleasure and like to have happy endings.
     
  16. MissErotica
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    There are some stories in the same level such as 'The Lovely Bones' an extremely successful book about a girl who is raped and killed and goes to heaven, she narrates the rest of the story from heaven.

    It's tastefully done and might be worth checking out to see where the 'boundaries' are. I don't think anything is off limits in literature, you read all kinds of horrific things, abuse can take many forms and people make millions from writing about their own abusive childhoods like Dave Peltzer.

    People read to be entertained so while it won't be exactly enjoyable subject matter it should make the reader not want to put it down, include plenty of action, pedophiles are resourceful, evil ingenius and sly, they have a 6th sense for evading the law.

    Personally I think it's not such a good idea for a novel because who wants to read about such hateful people? I know you plan to tell it from a childs p.o.v but is there really a story to be told or is it just a tale of abuse? If it's just a tale of abuse then why would someone choose your book over a true autobiographical story of survival? Like 'Cry Salty Tears' or 'Don't Tell Daddy?'

    The reader may also secretly wonder if it wasn't a pedophile handbook disguised as a novel. Just throwing it out there.
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    As noted above, they don't have to. Fiction doesn't have to be merely for entertainment value. Good fiction can and does treat serious subject matter in a way where the fiction says something valuable about the subject. The idea that you have to write fiction solely for entertainment and that it has to have a happy ending is sheer nonsense.

    If you can write a story on this subject, and do so effectively, then go for it. The risk with subject matter that is disturbing is that the author is ham-handed in his handling of it and it comes across as merely gratuitous, pornographic, etc. instead of as a serious commentary.
     
  18. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    By all means, I think you should go with it if you really want to.

    A story idea I had in Middle School was very, very, very depressing, which, long story short, basically concerned an innocent teenage girl who ended up getting gangraped multiple times during a war, becomes a prostitute in one of the worst brothels, is rescued by her distant male cousin (and a leader on one of the sides of the war) whom she develops an overobsessive attachment to, and when he gets captured by the enemy, she basically turns into one of the most brutal insane conquerers and mass murderers in history.

    It was a bit outlandish, but to be honest I feel like I want to return to that story when I'm a lot maturer, because I feel there's some potential in it if I tweak things to not be so... melodramatic.

    And I think that that's another potential problem you might run into - making it too melodramatic. If it doesn't become torture porn, it might turn into melodrama, especially if you're not able to give the audience a believable sense of what happened.

    Still, if this kind of stuff is what you want to write about, go ahead. I'd probably not read this kind of stuff and think you're a sick person for doing it, but I mean, if this is the kind of stuff you want to write, then by all means, go ahead and write it. There are people who enjoy this not because they're perverts, but because they want to explore the darker side of humanity, so it's all good.
     
  19. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    It's not the first time that a book that goes into the seedy underworld of men has been written.

    Personally, I feel books like this are the easiest to get drawn into and I wonder why really. Prone to peak into the darkness, it will suck your reader in and once you have them, it's over.

    However, the thing is that people will want to route for the children. It's hard to emotionally connect to a give year old through the story, but it can be done with a skilled writer.

    Just make sure that the pedophiles suffer a very Brutal fate in return.

    The Golden Rule can also serve as a stand-point of revenge from where the reader sits >.>...

    I dunno, but it'll be hard to write just due to the graphic nature.
     
  20. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm drawn whether to write it or not, but I'm thinking I will. I do have a quick question, though. Cybrxkhan, you said you had an idea for a story where a girl is gangraped several times during a war (and I assume it's by the same people?) and ends up as a prostitute in one of the worst brothels. And as you say the guy resuces her, I take it she didn't become a prostitute by choice. Why am I a sick person for writing a story with two young girls, but you are not a sick person simply because your girl is a bit older? What's the difference between our stories? (other than the revenge-part.)

    @Ashrynn, you have a good point. The problem is while you want to route for the children, I want to let at least one of them die. And sure the pedophiles can be tortured to death and all that, but I want the reader to know that it wouldn't matter. This isn't some one-time thing. These girls aren't special. This stuff happens all over the world every day. Even if you torture these pedophiles to death, there are countless others all over the world. What about them? How do we fight something like that, when the enemy could be in your very own family without you knowing about it?
     
  21. cybrxkhan
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    The gangrape and prostitution part wasn't really the main focus of the story, it was more so her relationship with her cousin. And the bloody conquests.

    Also I thought up of that story when I was in Middle School, so it was really... well, adolescent? In its execution, that is. If I were to redo it now, I'd probably tone down everything somewhat.

    Anyhow, I didn't mean to say you were actually a sick person per se, but that people in general might assume that if they had little information about the story. Again, however, I still think you should write what you feel needs to be written; there is, as you know, a difference between writing an actual story and writing porn or something, and it seems very clear that you're trying for the former, so by all means, go and do it. I mean Shakespeare's most gory play, Titus Andronicus, was so gory that some scholars thought it couldn't have been his... yet they were proven wrong, and it is just as decent a play as any of his (or at least so I've heard). And then there's the infamous Lolita too, and I'm pretty sure there's more similar cases you can mention. All in all, as long as you handle things professionally and believably, for lack of better wording, I think you probably shouldn't worry about this too much.
     
  22. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, don't worry, it most definitely won't be porn. I don't even know if I will have any of the sexual stuff included, or just hint towards it. For instance, there could be a scene with one girl sitting alone in her bed and listening to the other girl crying... and knowing perfectly well what's going on in the next room. I won't go into more detail than that in the story, but you still get a pretty good idea what I'm talking about. ;) And that's what I'm aiming for with the story. It will be subtle hints that don't leave much room for misunderstandings, but it will not be pornographic in any way.

    So anyway, I think I'll give this a try. If I can't write it, discussing it is a bit pointless. :p
     
  23. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    If you handle those hints well, it actually might make the story a lot better than if you just laid things out outright. That is, since you're basically not giving the reader everything, you are 1) making things a lot more tense and suspenseful because they know that something is going on, yet they don't know for certain and 2) it forces the reader to think of something in their imagination. Of course, then again, on the flip side, if you don't handle it well, it'd sound like you're cheating the reader of the story. But ultimately it can work, so definitely go in that direction if you think it'll work that way.
     
  24. Laura Mae.
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    People don't want to read about this stuff because they know it's happening all the time, and that makes it a reality. Several people above mentioned stories about wars. It's hard to ignore the fact that there's a war, as it's always there, on the news, relatives dying etc. but with child abuse and paedophilia, we know it's going on right at this second, yet no one is doing anything about it because unless it is affecting them directly, many people perceive it as not 'real'. Obviously people are powerless against situations like that in The Girl Next Door because no one wants to know. Sex is still a sensitive topic for many people, it's not always openly discussed in conversation; sex involving children is almost never spoken about in regular, everyday conversation. People do not want to talk about, there's a lack of awareness for 'taboo' things because of the fact that they are taboo. Yeah, there are sensational news stories when someone is discovered to have been participating in child abuse, but there is not a sustained awareness of it because it is a sensitive topic and it is often a very raw thing to talk about, particularly for those who have suffered. For example, there is outrage when incidents such as Josef Fritzl and his daughter in Austria are publicised. People do not want to talk about, let alone read it.

    I personally, if written well, would not choose to discriminate against it because of the subject matter. Books that are written well can hold up on a difficult, delicate and possibly embarrassing theme. I say go for it, make it as graphic as you want, but remember, the reader needs to be able to relate to the main character. Make it into a journey, captivate the reader so they feel the pain of the child during the abuse, don't make them close the book. If you can do this, then you will be able to open readers' eyes to the real problem of child abuse around the world, and sensitize the issue, instead of making people shut the book in disgust.
     
  25. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually there are already several books on the Fritzl-case alone, and there are sadly several other cases very similar to it. What about that Natascha Kampush-girl? People do want to read stuff like this.

    A few examples:

    Monster (Fritzl): http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0141039701/?tag=postedlinks-21

    The crimes of Joseph Fritzl: Uncovering the truth: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0007300557/?tag=postedlinks-21

    3.096 days (Kampuch): http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0670919993/?tag=postedlinks-21

    For that matter, there are even movies, like "Natascha: The girl in the cellar":

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1604079/
     

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