1. TheArcaneRose

    TheArcaneRose New Member

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    Accidental Incest: Is it acceptable?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheArcaneRose, Jan 17, 2018.

    Whilst writing this draft of my first young adult fantasy novel, I've had a new idea which could provide an interesting plot twist and allow for more opportunities in sequels. The problem is this makes a crucial plot line rather problematic.

    Originally, the princess of Aevalla, Evelyn, it to be wed to the prince of Draenthal, Kaizo after the marriage is arranged by her mother, the Queen. The idea is that these two kingdoms are growing more and more tense with each other so the marriage carries political connotations to the plot, but personal ones to the two involved. Evelyn's character arc is her essentially building up to make her own choice in regards to the marriage, eventually calling it off herself and ending any potential romance with Kaizo. This was fine until I became keen on a separate plot point which causes issues with this one.

    Over the course of the story, Evelyn is despondent over her lack of a 'gift' (an innate supernatural power). These gifts differ in type between kingdoms, with Aevalla linked to the mind (telekinesis and the like) and Draenthal linked to the classically magical (transmutations etc.). Due to the base differences between the gifts, they will be trained/discovered in different ways.

    The twist is that Evelyn's father is actually the king of the Draenthal, so her gift is magical rather than mental. Not only does this explain the failure of her training, it opens interesting avenues on how she reacts to her newly discovered father (who deeply hates Aevalla) and on her position as princess, as the public would view her as one of that rival kingdom given her gift. I'm interested in going down this route, and only one problem arises from this.

    Another aspect of Evelyn's character is her repressed sexuality, and her discovery of it during her blooming relationship with Kaizo. This includes her being physically attracted to him and engaging in some 'mild petting'. Nothing overtly sexual though. However, given that this new twist would make Kaizo her half-brother, would that be too strange? I don't necessarily want readers to be turned off by this revelation, but I find the marriage plot point is too difficult to scrap (it is the catalyst for the book's climax). Usually it might not bother me, it's just that her discovering her sexuality through her brother doesn't really sit well with me.

    Therefore, would you recommend that the twist shouldn't be included because of this? Or maybe it can if the romance scenes are toned down (nothing more than neck-biting or hand roaming happens, though the two allude to and agree to have sex). I'd appreciate your input.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    I vote “do it.”

    I like that plot twist a lot. Let it be what it is.

    If the half-brother thing bothers you too much... maybe he isn’t really her half-brother. Maybe his mother had an affair, and his father is someone else entirely.
     
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  3. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    Go!
    @CoyoteKing gives you one way out.
    They can breakup for some reason before anything serious happens.
    There might be some magic thing that prevents this.

    If you do it right anything goes.
     
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  4. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

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    Have you seen the original Star Wars trilogy?
     
  5. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    Or Game of Thrones... which isn’t YA, I guess. But two of the “good guys” are accidentally involved in an incestuous relationship because they don’t realize they’re related.
     
  6. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I see absolutely no reason that this would not work. Half-sibling incest is common in humans, especially among nobility. We knew it had some problems in the past, but we've only discovered how DNA even works and what the dangers actually are until recently.

    I'm confused by your concept of marriage and love though. Is this a civilization similar to ours where marriage and love are intertwined? That's a very modern concept.
     
  7. Mink

    Mink Contributor Contributor

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    I say "Go for it." It would be a great parallel to human societies because nobility is often related to one another in a much closer way than a half-brother/half-sister. If it bothers you, tone down what you write (which I would recommend anyway, but I've only read one YA where heavy petting was remotely present).
     
  8. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    You should watch Oldboy.
     
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  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Luke and Leia, 'nough said. :p
     
  10. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    You can, but you must insert this obligatory effect when they finish.

     
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  11. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    If it doesn't sit well with you, then have her discover her sexuality through some other guy. Kaizo can't be the only important male in your entire story? She could easily just have a fling with one of the guards or something.
     
  12. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    It’s a fantasy novel, though, not historical.
     
  13. TheArcaneRose

    TheArcaneRose New Member

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    The concept of marriage here is still very much a romantic one. One of her developments is that she learns to equate the two, hence why she calls of the marriage when she sorts out her true feelings. The arranged marriage idea is a special case from her mother which she herself actually has ulterior motives for, along the lines of: this particular marriage will nullify Evelyn's inheritance, as the Queen has no hope of her daughter being able to succeed as her successor. That plays into the balance she has to keep between being a Queen and being a mother -- she would rather see her only daughter married off and her family lose the throne than see Aevalla harmed because of it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  14. TheArcaneRose

    TheArcaneRose New Member

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    Kaizo's not the only important male in the story, but certainly in her life. She spent most of her life repressed as she was holed up in her castle. Moreover, given the matriarchal structure of the royal court, everyone she comes into contact with are female. Kaizo represents an escape from this. The experiences she has with him are to genuinely strengthen their relationship which makes her eventual choice all the more difficult and important to her. I feel that having a fling with a guard whilst not engaging romantically/sexually with Kaizo wouldn't make her decision as impactful.

    On the topic of it being bothersome though, I know who Evelyn is going to end up with. So the result of her relationship with Kaizo could bother/confuse her, and lead into her subsequent relationship (someone who's also trying to get to grips with her own sexuality, providing a point of empathy to bond over).
     
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  15. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Just a curiosity, is "Kaizo" a common term in only certain circles? I'm aware that it's an actual Japanese word, but in almost every context I've ever heard it, people are talking about the Super Mario tricks.
     
  16. TheArcaneRose

    TheArcaneRose New Member

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    Oh! I'll be honest, I came up with the name of the top of my head as a meaningless fantasy name for that kingdom. I had literally no idea it was an actual word in Japanese or of the game it came from. Would you say it's worth replacing because of that?
     
  17. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Writing is subversive. By all means, write outrageous situations in your fiction, and present them in a sympathetic way. If your writing generates heated moral debate, you have at least given your readers some exercise in thinking.
     
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  18. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Does there have to be romantic suggestions between Kaizo and Evelyn to help develop her sexuality necessarily? He could encourage her to explore her sexuality with others, give her advice. What about a sort of best friend, brother-sister sorta relationship? So Evelyn thinks she loves him romantically because she doesn't know what it's like to have any kind of relationship with a man, and it turns out, as her sexuality matures, that she does love him but as a brother or a best friend. That there's such a thing as platonic love between men and women. That, surely, is part of coming to terms with your own sexuality?

    If they're good friends, let's say, Kaizo could even willingly agree to letting her experiment with him - some friends do that - with the knowledge that none of it is romantic. If you wanted to avoid incestuous thoughts, you could have them touch each other etc, and Evelyn's reaction to it could be "No no no, this is all wrong. I care deeply for him but this is just wrong." And this could get her all confused and then she expects she'd feel this way with anyone she ever tries to be intimate with - only of course, as she finds her true love or whoever, she realises that's not true. Etc...

    Not got a clue if any of this fits your story though :)

    As for Kaizo being a Japanese word and/or from the Mario game - I had no idea either. However, if I were you I'd do a quick google search to see how popular the term is. If it's super popular, then you may wanna change it just because there will be a higher proportion of readers who will probably be distracted by the term, or giggle about it, or who would be unable to see your character as you intended because they're too caught up with what they know of the term. I once had to stop reading a book because all its characters had ridiculous names - its main character was Pug.
     
  19. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Just know that there is going to be some segment of readers for whom this crosses a line and they may get hung up on this factoid. If we attempt to remove everything that might cause upset in a particular reader, all you're left with is a bland gruel. We make choices all the time that Certain Readers™ aren't going to like. Unlike the scenario you present, often we're not even aware that such a choice has been made. You just have to decide if and how you're going to be okay with the idea that you are cutting out certain readers. My works nearly alway contain LGBT elements. This automatically cuts out Certain Readers™ from being able to or wanting to enjoy the story I tell. I'm okay with that. It's a choice I made a long time ago.
     
  20. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    To be honest, given that your setting is a fantasy aristocracy, it really wouldn't be a twist to me that they were related in some way because I've read enough history books to know that human aristocracies tended to lean that way. DNA evidence on King Tut shows that his parents were siblings, like straight up brother and sister. So if it's not weird in you're fantasy world, then it wouldn't be weird to your characters, and given how you've described their relationship, I'd say it was probably encouraged by their parents. So if you want there to be stakes to them being semi-siblings, then it would probably be a good idea to establish there are consequences for such pairings, but then that would probably kill the twist, too, because early on your readers would be wondering why you're making such a big deal out of incest. So this type of incest honestly wouldn't bother me that much. Maybe get a, "huh, that's a little gross." Whereas if you had a 'real world' setting like Flowers In The Attic then you'd probably get more than just a slight cringe out of me.
     
  21. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    Hey, this is bugging me. I have a question.

    Her mom arranged the marriage. Doesn't her mom know about the incest, though?

    Unless there's some fantasy thing I'm missing. I'm assuming that her mom had sex with the King of Draenthal, and that's how Evelyn was born. So her mom should know that Kaizo and Evelyn are half-siblings.
     
  22. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Being a Queen, I'm assuming she could have sex with whomever she wants and maybe there were a few possible pop-pops and her numbers were off when when did the calculations. Maybe she though the real father was Lord Somebody that died in a war somewhere and only figures out her mistake when the real real dad comes in all, "I remember the night we made love. It was a night like this only the moon was full and the spring breeze was wafting down from the mountains," but she's all, "I thought we made love in the summer! Oh no! What have I done!?!?"
     

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