Tuesday, July 7, 2009

To go there or not to go there? That is the question.

Is this aspect of a story too much? Did I go over the top? Will I get hate mail because I wrote this? Have I written porn when I meant to write a romance?

I haven't met an author yet who hasn't run into these questions during their career and opinions vary on them. There are authors who will tell an aspiring writer or even an established author write for the market and don't go off the beaten path. There are other authors who will tell you – if it works then it works.

The truth is: at the end of the day, you have to be able to live with yourself. If you aren't comfortable writing two or three sex scenes then that is a line in the sand for you. If you don't mind writing sex that's your prerogative and nobody should say anything about it.

The other questions are a bit trickier because they may deal with stepping on proverbial toes. You may have added an issue that's been downplayed in mainstream or erotic romance or is a closet taboo.

I'm an author who once struggled with some of the first questions. I had one story sitting on my shelf forever because I chose to go there. I never regretted my decision and when I finally did sell it, I was surprised to find it was well received.

Today I'm not known to shy away from a tough subject. In fact, I appreciate the hardcore details that come from digging down to the nitty-gritty. I don't have any problem laying it out there where my readers can draw their own opinion. But that's me. By this point I have very thick skin and there is very little taboo left unexplored in my repertoire. I drew the line where many authors do – no incest. I have a few other fuzzy lines like I don't normally write M/M because a gay relationship is actually very different from the way it is mostly portrayed. That's a respect issue with me. Even if I write multicultural I am always respectful of the culture and religion whether or not I agree with their practices or religious doctrine.

To me, it does come down to going there.


So, it's your turn. Are there firm lines you'll never cross when it comes to going there? If so, what?


Until next Tuesday, cheers and happy writing,







Anonymous said...

You've posted an interesting question. I haven't been writing long enough to really cross a line in the sand, but there are subjects I know I can't imagine myself breaching. Perhaps in the future but right now I'll stick to what is working for me.

Great post, TJ.


Diana Castilleja said...

Interesting. When it comes to sex in the story, I'm still growing enough that I have room to work with. There are some things I don't write about--political stuff (I don't really understand it), cultural (might, haven't), historical (I know my limits LOL).

I'm a firm believer if it works for the author and it makes sense, then go forward. I'm not the only person who will see it the way it's written.

J Hali said...

I have a few lines in the sand - incest, snuff and beastiality. There are some that aren't taboo but they scare me so I don't go there.

I haven't been pushed to write anything other than what I'm comfortable with. Maybe I'm lucky because I've heard some of the stories about "write what the market wants". It's a tough business and though I'm new, I plan to remain true to myself.

Nice post TJ.

Sandy said...

Good post, TJ.

Yes, there are definitely limits I won't cross. So far, I haven't had to take a stand because I haven't been asked to write them. Smile.