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message 1: by Shannon (last edited Feb 12, 2014 11:09AM) (new)

Shannon Pemrick | 55 comments On another site I heard of some authors creating censored version of their book so they can appeal to more people, and I found this thought to be interesting. As a reader who doesn't mind swearing in the least, it doesn't have an effect since I'd pick either version if the book appealed to me, but as an author who has a book with characters who swear like sailors and have had mixed reviews regarding the excessive swearing, I can see a benefit to this (even thought I doubt I'd ever chose to do it).

As authors and/or readers what are your opinions about this idea?


message 2: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 848 comments It doesn't bother me. What offends Bob doesn't offend Bill and vice versa.


message 3: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Merikan What's the point of creating a watered down version? If an author can't stand behind their content, then they might as well just post the 'censored' version in the first place.

I've even seen an author make two editions of a romance book, calling one the 'sanitized version'. He claimed he created the sexless one to appeal to women more. Clueless.


message 4: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I'm not offended by swearing, but find it distracting if used a lot. I don't use any hard-core words in my stories, and the rest I use sparingly, but that's my choice. I also try for as large an audience as possible, and offending a good number of readers with unnecessary bad language is not the way for me to do it. Because of that, when I do use an "expletive," I believe it has a greater impact to the story, and so I see it as one more tool for adding drama to a dramatic moment. As far as offering a censored version, I think it would be worth doing only if the author believes it would gain a lot of extra sales. You might try it with one book just to see what effect it has.


message 5: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 361 comments If you're the author (or the owner of the intellectual property), then you have the right to do what you want to it. How would this be different from having the illustrated version, or a picture book version with a very simplified text?
It seems like a waste of energy to me.


message 6: by R.A. (new)

R.A. White (rawhite) | 361 comments If I was interested in a book, I would chose the censored version. I imagine I'm not the only one, but I probably wouldn't pass up the book just because of the language. I guess it would depend on how interesting it looked. I do know a lot of people who simply won't read books with much profanity. It's up to you if you want to go out of your way for them.


message 7: by E.G. (new)

E.G. Manetti (thornraven) Shannon wrote: "On another site I heard of some authors creating censored version of their book so they can appeal to more people. As a reader who doesn't mind swearing in the least, it doesn't have an effect, but..."

My novels contain NC-17 content. For that reason I have family members that won't read them. However, the content is not gratuitous, it is central to character development and certain themes. Deleting it would significantly alter the narrative.

Having said that, I don't see where exploring a 'g-rated' version of a novel is different from exploring a graphic version or audio version in an attempt to reach a wider audience.


message 8: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Shannon wrote: "As authors and/or readers what are your opinions about this idea? "

There are books that I've enjoyed but am limited in how much I can recommend them to others because of the erotic content. (I mentally review my list of reader friends, saying, "no, she's a christian, he's religious, she thinks 'damn' is bad." Etc.)

I also think it would be a sad thing to write a book that you hope your children never read.

For some books, I think creating a G-rated version would be a good idea and could increase sales. I also think books should have a rating. I have a bad review because of the "fowl language" that shocked the reviewer. It might help readers to make a choice when considering a purchase and keep them from getting blind-sided by something later.

I advise people when promoting, "This book is like an R rated movie" or "this story is kid-safe. It's like PG-13."

A sanitized version could also help with library distribution. I see plenty of pros, and no cons. I doubt I'll do it with mine though. Maybe someday if I run out of things to write - like when I'm 102.


message 9: by Gregor (new)

Gregor Xane (gregorxane) | 274 comments Richard wrote: "Many times I've thought of producing chopped-down versions of my own books to eliminate the sexual escapades and save some potential readers a bit of shock."

I'd be shocked and offended if you did that.


message 10: by S.L. (new)

S.L. (slgray) | 37 comments If the story/characters/conflict of a particular book requires swearing or sex or graphic violence, I put it in there. If there's a lot of any of that, I would do my best to either correctly categorize it when listed for sale and/or warn for it in the book description.

I would not ever write a sanitized or censored version of the same book. It wouldn't be the same story without the elements I felt it needed the first time around.


message 11: by Mark (new)

Mark Stone (calasade) | 53 comments Censorship in any form is bad. A work should be written how the work demands. If such demands exclude people who can't free themselves from their own inhibitions long enough to enjoy a work of art, so be it. Let them find something more mundane.


message 12: by E.G. (last edited Feb 13, 2014 10:38AM) (new)

E.G. Manetti (thornraven) Edward wrote: "Shannon wrote: "As authors and/or readers what are your opinions about this idea? "

There are books that I've enjoyed but am limited in how much I can recommend them to others because of the eroti..."


I've certainly never written anything I would not be willing to have my children read (assuming they are old enough for NC-17).

Interesting comment about library distribution. Here in US Mid-Atlantic FSoG was prominently displayed at the local library. And it is not the edgiest thing out there, most of which are also available.


message 13: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 262 comments As both author and reader:
NO.
Just no.

Nobody censored Twilight and the gazillion of so-called romance stories that actually promote underlying psychological domestic abuse and/or women being objectified. So I don't see why I couldn't use "damn" or "fuck" or insert a steamy sex scene wherever I please. At least I'm upfront about it—and probably don't cause as much damage.


message 14: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments In a sense producing a self-censored version of one's stories is almost like the author stating he or she has moral reservations about their own work.


message 15: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments Richard wrote: "Speaking of censorship... http://www.mhpbooks.com/penguin-pulls... Short story: Penguin pulls a book they published from distribution in India."

Interesting, 'hurt feelings'.


message 16: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 361 comments Remember that a corporation has very different goals from an author. No, they are not in it to promote you, or to enhance the world of letters, or to improve civilization. Corporations are in it for the money, period.
You yourself, the author of the work -- your duty is different. Nobody can tell this story, but you. If you fail, it dies, unborn.
No one -- nobody -- tells me what I write. It is between me and my Muse.


message 17: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Pemrick | 55 comments Edward wrote: For some books, I think creating a G-rated version would be a good idea and could increase sales. I also think books should have a rating. I have a bad review because of the "fowl language" that shocked the reviewer. It might help readers to make a choice when considering a purchase and keep them from getting blind-sided by something later.

I've also wondered about ratings on books. Lately, with how I've seen reviews on books and how I've looked at books, that would be a good idea to have.

I've seen disclaimers on book pages that warn readers but they seem to do nothing (from my observations) because people seem to either ignore it or not see it and then are unhappy (I've even done this disclaimer and it hasn't changed anything really). I wonder if ratings on a book would make it easier on authors and readers, or if they'll get ignored like content warnings seem to.


message 18: by Philip (new)

Philip Dodd (philipdodd) | 65 comments Ulysses by James Joyce was banned, once. I would like to see someone take on the impossible task of producing a censored version of that book. Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence was also banned, once. Now both books can be read by anyone. The best form of censorship is just not to read what you do not want to read, and be grateful that there are many books that you do want to read.


message 19: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Richard wrote: "a "self-censored" book could be viewed as no more nor less than a dumbed-down EZ-2-Read book for kids containing more or less the same story."

That's what I was thinking of when this occurred to me this morning before I saw this thread. I'm editing a book that the author's children won't be able to read for years, and I thought, without the sex scenes, it would be a great book for them to read and it would give them an added layer of respect for their mother and her talent.


message 20: by Humberto (new)

Humberto Contreras | 66 comments Edward. You are saying that authors should write bland books, maybe eat bland food and don't do anything that a child would find reprehensible.
Sex, per se, is not unnatural or bad for a child. Essentially the child would not be there if there had not been a sexual act between the parents.
I am sure that there are books for kids. But most of them, even Bambi, have cruel scenes and witches and monsters. And violence, lots of violence. Maybe we shouldn't teach children to read.
By the way, for centuries many religions prohibited reading to the masses.
I think that we have to outgrow our taboos and we, writers, have always been ahead of the rest.

That idea about sex is definitely a taboo, a western taboo. Made even more pronounced during Victorian time.

I do not know if we can outgrow the sexophobia (?) but I definitely think that we should try.


message 21: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Merikan It's funny how kids are worried what their parents would say, that what they write is too 'riské' and parents worry their kids will find stuff offensive. If someone is over eighteen, it just depends on their taste what they like or don't like to read.

If the vulgarisms/sex scenes are deletable without having an impact on the book, then the author hasn't done a good job and they weren't needed in the first place. Everything should serve a purpose in the book.


message 22: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Humberto wrote: " You are saying that authors should write bland books, maybe eat bland food and don't do anything that a child would find reprehensible. "

I am? I guess I'm very fortunate to have you inform me of that because I never ever would've known that otherwise.

As I said, I was thinking of a friend who will not let her children read her books until they are older because of the sex scenes.

And from this, you drew the conclusion that I have some idea that sex is bad or unnatural? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you didn't read all of my comments, or were distracted.

I agree with the mother/author who doesn't want her young teens reading about one character thrusting into another's mouth. It's not age appropriate for them. It would creep them out just knowing that their mother wrote it.

So, if she had a second version of the book - and notice I didn't say she should discard the original and that all books containing such material should all be abolished - her kids could enjoy the entire saga and be proud of their mom on a new level for being an author.

Or maybe it was my other comment you're responding to - the one where I said I give people warnings that some of my books are rated R or PG-13.

I'm obviously not a prude or a sexophobe if I'm writing such books. Giving others who retain the ability to find offense in the communication symbols of words in print or in sounds does not mean that I share the sensitivities of such people. I merely acknowledge that that's how they are and as a courtesy to them (because there's nothing wrong with being courteous even if I do think they need to evolve) I give them what I call a fair warning.

I agree with you that writers have always been ahead of the rest when it comes to moving society forward. I write what I do for a reason. On the surface, it's to entertain. But beyond that, there is a hope that I'll inspire people to think and change and evolve, and maybe someday, we won't be the totally fucked up, dysfunctional people we are today.


message 23: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Merikan They're needed if they moved the plot forward, told something new about the characters etc, if you could as well cut them out, then you could write the story without them in the first place. There's nothing wrong with stories being PG after all.
But if cutting these parts changes the story, then it's not just a 'PG version of story XYZ', it's a totally different story.

(That's the proverbial 'you' of course)


message 24: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 262 comments I've thought about it again. I still don't really understand the point.

If you want to write a book children can read, then write a book that children can read.

If you want to tell a story with adult themes, then tell a story with adult themes, for adults. The children can wait. They're not the centre of the world.

Why bother otherwise? Why even bother writing a story, if it's to rewrite/remove whole parts? Why not just start with the censored version, and leave it at that? Just to compromise with whoever said "OMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN"? To make more money—sorry, reach a wider audience?

I know, I'm being blunt on that one. I'm just tired of always seeing/hearing people demanding WE compromise. It was the same crap as a teacher: "Do this, do that, do it for the children, oh yes normally we the parents should raise them, but you have to understand we have real jobs (=unlike you), so the least you can do is [insert stuff to do that isn't the teacher's job]."

I like to hope our jobs as authors is to tell OUR stories, not to censor them in fear of offending a few sensibilities. I find it sad that we even have to consider the option.


message 25: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Yzabel wrote: "I've thought about it again. I still don't really understand the point.

If you want to write a book children can read, then write a book that children can read.

If you want to tell a story with a..."


Writing for a market is just good business, and good sense. Money is not only a measure of reader acceptance, but more of it allows better covers and better editing, if you pay for those things.
A rewrite, sans expletives, is not necessarily to reach the childrens market; it allows you to reach a wider audience that feels a book can be written without expletives, or without graphic violence, or without whatever. Their taste in literature may be no better or worse than yours, but they are entitled to it, its a large market, and many writers want a presence in it. If you have a good story, why not write as many versions of it as you want to in order to sell to different markets. It doesn't hurt anybody, and it gets your name and your work out there. If some writers don't want to do that, if they want to call it "selling out," that's fine; they don't have to do it. But if a writer wants to maximize his/her readership, and income, it's simply another way to control your writing and who sees it.


message 26: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 262 comments Ken wrote: "[...] But if a writer wants to maximize his/her readership, and income, it's simply another way to control your writing and who sees it. "

OK with that. But the original question (at least, the way I understood it) seemed to imply that some authors write their stories, THEN rewrite them as "censored versions". I guess for me, it's simply a matter of "why not start write the censored version from the start, and not botter with two versions?" Writing and editing take time; I'd rather spend that time on writing new stories, instead of rewriting the old ones—if it makes sense.


message 27: by Humberto (new)

Humberto Contreras | 66 comments Edward. Sorry. I know that you are better than what I wrote. But it is my job to stir controversy. At least that is what I think I do for a living.
Again, I am with you and I would love to have you edit one of my books.


message 28: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Thanks, Humberto.

It's good to stir up the dust once in a while.

If you currently need some editing, it would be several weeks out, but I'd be having to give you a sample edit and quote anytime.


message 29: by Brenda (last edited Feb 14, 2014 02:30PM) (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 361 comments The advent of e publishing and Print on Demand in theory makes a lot of room for this kind of thing.

I write science fiction, so let me conjure a future for you. We go into a bookstore of the future. There is only one copy of every book for sale on the shelf. I go up and select, let us say, your novel. My living room is decorated in hues of green, so I order a binding that will go with the decor -- the clerk shows me a sheaf of color cards. I show ID, to prove that I am of age, and can thus buy the X-rated version of the work. While I'm at it I can spring for all the dirty illustrations as well. To accommodate my weakening vision I decree that the text will be set in 14 point type, and my favorite type face. And yes, I like decorated initial capitals to start each chapter, but no, I am not interested in the Study Questions For Book Groups that I could also buy.
I pay by tapping my cell phone on the screen, and then go next door to pick up a chai latte. In half an hour I'm back. My book is there waiting for me, warm from the press, and the clerk wishes me a happy reading experience.


message 30: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Brenda wrote: "The advent of e publishing and Print on Demand in theory makes a lot of room for this kind of thing.

I write science fiction, so let me conjure a future for you. We go into a bookstore of the fut..."


I like it.


message 31: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Brenda wrote: "The advent of e publishing and Print on Demand in theory makes a lot of room for this kind of thing.

I write science fiction, so let me conjure a future for you. We go into a bookstore of the fut..."


I think you've seen the future. A possible future, at least.


message 32: by Regina (last edited Feb 14, 2014 10:09PM) (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments Well, I include mild swearing in my books (at least, I consider it mild). I write westerns, and my characters are not a bunch of choirboys (okay, the worst one of the lot actually was a choirboy, but I digress.). While it's mildly gritty, there's certain lines I won't cross with the language and whatnot. Church ladies have been okay with the realistic style of dialog in my books. It ain't Deadwood. Even so, someone left me a bad review because she was offended by the language (which I'm kind of glad she did, because if someone is offended by any and all swearing, they probably don't want to read my books.). Different people have different tolerances for what they find offensive. It is what it is.

You can't please everyone. Character talks like Hop-along Cassidy, some folks don't like it because it's not gritty enough. A guy lets a rugged, four-letter, Anglo-Saxon monosyllable fly while he's being tossed over a bar in a saloon, and now your book is filth. :-D You can't win. Write what you want.


message 33: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 262 comments Frankly... If the worst thing reviewers have to say about your book is "the characters swear like sailors", I think you can be pretty satisfied with yourself. ;)


message 34: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Shannon wrote: "On another site I heard of some authors creating censored version of their book so they can appeal to more people, and I found this thought to be interesting. As a reader who doesn't mind swearing ..."

I don't feel the need to censor my writing because someone with a more prudish bent about adult situations, language, etc., may be offended. There are plenty of books out there, and not everyone is going to like everything.

I remember being very amused by a review of an anthology that chastised one of the authors for referring to "love-bruised lips" despite the story being 100 percent clean in content, whilst praising another story that featured supernatural beings ripping live humans limb from limb and eating their flesh. It's a puzzle, to say the least, as to why referring obliquely to a married couple making love was unacceptable but torture was okay.


message 35: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments We Americans are weird that way, I guess. I have frequently thought the same thing.

I had originally set out to write a far grittier story than I have (I started out with web fiction to build an audience), but it became obvious to me that most most enthusiastic demographic was young women, many of whom were still in school. When you know a fourteen year old is breathing down your neck as you write, it does make it hard to be explicit. In this situation, it was appropriate to adapt to my audience. That, and I didn't want to go to an adult rating on my site. So I might skirt the line a little, but I don't cross it.

And Yzabel, yeah. I'm kind of of the same mind. I don't mind that sort of review...that's certainly not the worst thing she could say. So she doesn't like profanity. Fair enough. But I'm not cleaning up what little blue talk my boys use. They're a bunch of barracks-dwelling, ball-scratching, smoke-rolling rowdies. I'm not writing Roy Rogers over here.


message 36: by Ella (new)

Ella Kaye (ellamkaye) | 2 comments I've been debating this myself since this is a pen name and my "regular" books are not spicy while my EMK books are. I separated into the pen name for that reason, to give readers the choice not to pick up the EMK books if it would bother them. The problem is: the stories are about the "story" not about the spice. I have a base of readers who love my work but do not like sex scenes. They want to read all of my work. Therefore, the dilemma.

I say my stories themselves are valuable enough to be worth my time to clean them up just a bit for those loyal fans. However, I won't actually "publish" the new versions other than posting that they are available directly through me, or possibly at Smashwords with no distribution. I find this a good compromise. I want my stories read, and I would never dare insult a reader for her choice to not want sex scenes. It's a personal decision and not right or wrong.


message 37: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Sharpe (abigailsharpe) Musicians do it all the time to get radio play.

I say to each her own. I think if the explicit stuff is organic to the story, the reader will miss out by reading the censored version.


message 38: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Abigail wrote: "Musicians do it all the time to get radio play.

I say to each her own. I think if the explicit stuff is organic to the story, the reader will miss out by reading the censored version."


There's also an option on movies sometimes to get the Uncensored version, or Director's Cut.

I think it makes marketing sense and could expand reach. But as I said, I'm not going to go back through my writing to make a clean version. I have too much writing to do. But I see nothing wrong with people doing it. Especially when they have a story that goes into graphically detailed sex. I don't see how implying the sex as they do in lower rated movies will harm the plot, showing the characters kissing, groping, disrobing, then fade to black. We get the idea.


message 39: by Regina (last edited Feb 15, 2014 09:19AM) (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments I would probably fold and do it if there was some serious motivation to do it. Like if I found out some school library wanted to carry it or something like that.

Frankly, the thought of having to rewrite and re-edit my books at this point is enough to send me screaming into the night. It's a brutal, grueling process, as you know, and when I am done, I am absolutely sick of myself.


message 40: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 361 comments I wrote an SF novel about Titus Oates, the famous polar explorer. There are considerable historical records about him, both his own letters and things written by his associates and friends. I read them all. One of the things he was famous for was cussing. Even the British sailors were shocked and awed, which shows you he must've been something.
There is no way that my fictional Oates isn't going to be potty-mouthed. I am sure that 99.99 percent of my readers did not dig into the historical record and do not appreciate my versimilitude. If they don't like it, too bad. I owe it to Oates, to the work itself, to make him true to life.


message 41: by Robert (last edited Feb 15, 2014 10:24AM) (new)

Robert Roberts (goodreadscomrobertroberts) If you feel it necessary to censor your thoughts for political correctness just to reach a particular audience of readers, then your not a writer. Your a fraud to yourself, and to your craft.


message 42: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Brenda wrote: "I owe it to Oates, to the work itself, to make him true to life. "

In that case, there's definitely no option.


message 43: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Adams | 3 comments Hi. New here, but I figured I'd give my opinion. I believe that if the story is equally as good without the questionable part, then I would ask myself why is it in there in the first place. On the other hand, if it is required to tell the story, then an author must be true to himself.

In "On Writing" Stephen King said an author must "tell the truth". If I hold back because I am afraid of offending someone, am I really telling the truth?

On the other hand, does one consider the audience one is writing for? In one of my novels, the main character is a sexually abused boy, but the target audience is the young adult and older group. I don't feel the need to go into great detail as to what the abuse entails. I think even twelve year olds have some idea. So I leave the abuse "off screen" but make it clear that it was sexual from the very beginning by showing how the boy cannot stand to view his naked body.

There is a point at the end, where the abuser says something vulgar, and the main character returns with "Well now you can go f--- yourself." It is a crucial point in the story and without that phrase, it doesn't work, as it shows growth in the boy as he becomes a man.

Would I create a censored version as well as a non censored version of anything I wrote? Well, to be honest, if it meant the difference between a contract with TOR books, vs. self publishing, you can bet I'd cave! There goes art out the window.

Just my two cents.


message 44: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Bruce wrote: "[...]if the story is equally as good without the questionable part, then I would ask myself why is it in there in the first place. "

Comments I've made are more geared toward graphic sex scenes in a non-erotic novel. If the reader needs to know that characters are in a sexual relationship, or had sex at a specific time, then we can be shown that they did that without every detail.

I really don't think the details are meant to move the plot forward, or that they're necessary in most cases. I think they're included to entertain and titillate.

I have a friend who writes great stories where everything is moving along in this wonderful narrative, and then all of a sudden, it's like I just changed the channel from The Wonder Years to Hustler Honeys, and I'm going, "huh?"

I've recommended that he issue the books minus the porn, and for the sake of branding, use a pen name on his other books that *are* erotica based.

I think he's writing to two different audiences, but blending them together, and that's why I think he's not taking off as an author and having more success.

Sometimes, it might benefit writers to step back from their ideals and proclamations of "being true" and "writing whatever I want" and considering whether they're writing for an audience or just for themselves.

If it's just for themselves with no regard for what anyone thinks or any commercial viability (and what author really doesn't care if anyone reads his books?) then apply some common sense.

You might like peanut butter on your steak, but would you open a restaurant that only served that?

Art is more than just doing only what you want to do. What is art without the person who views it?

King said "tell the truth" but that doesn't mean if a person uses the restroom or eats an apple that the reader must then have a detailed description of the person wiping their ass or getting apple skin caught in their teeth, and trying to bite off as much apple as they can without biting into the core.

And as for things being necessary to moving the plot forward - I think that's nonsense and no one who preaches about it actually applies it literally to their own writing.

Significant events move the plot forward. There's leeway on the accompanying details. Does a character taking a shower move the plot forward? No, but it lets you know that the person is clean, etc. Do we need to read a detailed description of how the person washed their skin and shampooed their hair - even if the shower really matters to the plot?

I think not - but just as in movies, sometimes the shower scene is included, because it's viewer eye-candy. We like it. But it's often not "necessary."

So it's a bit silly to ask why an unnecessary scene is there in the first place if the book is equally good without it. Sometimes, it's just to entertain.


message 45: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Adams | 3 comments Well,Edward, I think you are right in the sense that "sometimes it's just to entertain." I mean, after all, otherwise we should just write a synopsis of the whole novel and save everyone hours of time reading, and ourselves months of time writing!

But seriously, I am more talking about the use of capricious sex and violence. Of course, we don't need to know every detail of a scene i.e. the bathroom scene. I think by "being true" what King means is that if you have a character that is a rapist/'murderer, it wouldn't "be true" to exclude all descriptions of his actions. You wouldn't get a true idea of the character, his or her motivations, and depravity. He'd just be a generic rapist/murderer.

On the other hand, I've also read books that all of a sudden break into the sexual exploits of a character in graphic detail. Sure, it was entertaining, but it served absolutely no purpose to advancing the plot (as you said). I felt that it certainly did not add to the quality of the novel despite it being compelling to read.

The reality is that we could all probably remove some scenes/chapters from our stories, and they would be just as good, maybe better! But sometimes we do have a scene that we just love, and keep it in. But I do stand by my belief that if it doesn't further the plot or character development, doesn't serve to promote whatever "message" we are trying to convey, and is not in line with the rest of the novel, it probably doesn't belong there.

And, of course, as I go through the second draft I always ask myself if the book is just as good without a scene, chapter, whatever. And I believe as an artist I need to ask that question. Does "X" further my message, plot, etc., detract from it, or is neutral? Does it help to explain a character; does it move the reader? That's just the way I write, and it works for me. It keeps my novels from becoming 700 pages. (They all tend to be at least 400). Sometimes I keep the scene; sometimes not.

It may not work for everyone. But it's worked for me.


message 46: by Edward (last edited Feb 17, 2014 02:48PM) (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Bruce wrote: "Well,Edward, I think you are right in the sense that "sometimes it's just to entertain." I mean, after all, otherwise we should just write a synopsis of the whole novel and save everyone hours of time reading, and ourselves months of time writing! "

That cracked me up! :)
And I agree with all of your points. We should always strive to remove anything that takes away from the story. Less is more. I probably tend to overdo this though, for the most part, getting right into the action fairly quickly and not languishing around with a bunch of character development and physical descriptions. lol I'm partially kidding.

Regarding another thought - I could say: As an artist, I don't give a damn if a scene furthers the plot - because I'm being true to myself - not someone else's rules of what a story should be. I'm writing to express my art - not to appeal to readers. As an artist, I needn't be confined to pre-conceived notions of what a book should be, or be required to conform to literary conventions and norms - or even rules of grammar and English. I'm just going to be true to myself and my creations.

I *could* say that, but I think that illustrates the fallacy of the alleged purists who act like they're in it strictly for the art, without any regard for even having an audience or caring what they think.

I write to express ideas. If the ideas offend some people, then that's good. lol

I think many writers also write to express their ideas which they think are important. When those ideas are blended in with something that a good number of readers want nothing to do with, then the author limits the size of the audience. (Again, I'm talking about erotica that pops up in the middle of contemporary fiction that doesn't really require it to be there.)

In that case, I'd offer two versions. Or just one, because what's more important - the ideas, or the titillation (which is probably just there in the hopes of giving the reader a little extra fun and maybe getting them to enjoy your ideas with the bonus of "really steamy sex!"?)

P.S.
These thoughts are borne out of a book I just worked on for someone and who's marketing possibilities are going to be extremely limited, and I think it's a shame, because there's so much important real stuff in the book. I just want to give some perspective on where I'm coming from.


Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell (neniacampbell) I actually did have one of my books banned from Amazon for offensive content. I was really offended, mainly because they didn't specifically tell me why. I don't understand, for example, why a mystery that contains dark content can't be sold on Amazon but exploitative fics like dinorotica and monster porn can.


message 48: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Pemrick | 55 comments That's quite interesting, Nenia. Were you getting reviews that were saying it was offensive or did it just happen out of the blue?


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