IWSG: Drawing the Line

My IWSG post for October, because – yowza – it is October already, isn’t it? Thanks to this month’s awesome cohosts: Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

October 6 question – In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

I tend to shy away from gratuitous sex and violence. I try very hard to scrub away any direct references to actual people and events.

Other than that, I don’t really have firm lines. If I am going to have violence, why not have it be graphic? If I’m going to have sexual encounters, why not describe them in detail? I think we can do either subject matter injustice and make it more salacious by describing graphic violence as if it were a PG video game where the people just die and disappear. (Unless of course we are in fact writing a PG video game or the literary equivalent.)

I guess where I “draw the line” depends on the audience and on the story. What is the story I am trying to tell? What is the most effective way to convey it to the reader? Would an f-bomb or anatomically-specific description of a male on male sexual encounter add to or detract from the narrative?

For me, I think it’s “all for the narrative, all for the story.” I don’t really have any hard and fast rules except for that one. I also write on many different subjects for many different audiences. If I were talking X subject to Y audience then of course I would have specific rules. I will never use contractions in business writing, and I will absolutely use them in most fictional dialogue. To do otherwise would be “really weird” and would detract from the message.

Have a great October!

5 thoughts on “IWSG: Drawing the Line

  1. Agreed. Know your audience. Finding the most effective way to get to the reader is number one priority. Fantastic post.

  2. Knowing who your intended audience is, is a key element to what you write. If you know your readers like the tamer PG/PG-13 stuff then they won’t appreciate you jumping up to R. Also your comfort level in how you present the subject matters as well. If you’re uncomfortable writing out a sex scene then it would make the process way more painful and there’s no need if close door or hints to action work just as well.

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