First off, I’d like to apologize for my long absence. English classes have me bogged down with reading, my wedding is only 19 days away, and Anne Rice has sucked me into the first book in “The Vampire Chronicles.” But, let me assure you, as I’m typing this, I can tell I’ve really missed blogging. I’ve missed writing in general. I won a free contest where I get free cover art, so I’ve been going back through what I have for “London Darkness: War of the Devices” so I can finish it and use the free art for that book. But I haven’t been able to write in close to two weeks, which is very upsetting.
Now, on to today’s topic:
Vulgarity. (Of course there is nothing vulgar about this picture, but it appears the [assumed drunk] man may be shouting some vulgar things at that woman).
Vulgarity, including graphic violence and sex scenes, has its place in writing. These things happen in everyday life, which means they can more than certainly happen in our stories. But, how much is too much? Is there such a thing?
I imagine it mainly has to do with what genre you’re writing. If you’re writing YA, I’d stay away from anything outside damn, hell, and even bitch can be questionable in some cases.
However, when you get into adult novels, be it erotica, or, especially in George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” novels, things can get very graphic. Does this make them offensive? I’d imagine it could be offensive to some readers, but they need to expect that if they are picking up an adult novel.
While these situations can occur in any type of book, I think it’s helpful to separate them into three general genres where you may encounter vulgarity. (Note: These are merely my opinions on these matters).
As I stated earlier, in most cases you’re writing to a slightly younger audience (although not always). They’re old enough to have been exposed to the sex, vulgar language, and violence that is permitted on television, which means that as a writer, you probably shouldn’t go beyond that. Damn, h(H)ell, bitch, blood, severing of limbs, and mild sexual situations are all appropriate for YA. I would hold off on any extremely graphic sex or excessively violent situations here.
Fiction & Non-Fiction (New adult and up)
I’m lumping pretty much all fiction and non-fiction here. Anything not intended for teenagers. Science-fiction, fantasy, biographies, steampunk, cyberpunk. You get the idea. Because the intended audience is a bit older, then can *handle* (I use that word loosely. Only the individual can decide what they are capable of dealing with), things of a more violent and graphic nature. They are a more appropriate audience for more graphic sex, violence, f-bombs, and the other many things out there that our children and teenagers really shouldn’t be reading about.
I put this in its own category because, let’s face it, after the Fifty Shades experience, people know what they’re getting in to when they read erotica. You can expect graphic sexual scenes, vulgar language, and many other situations that just aren’t suited for young adults. Sometimes these situations aren’t even suitable for adults!
What do you think about violence, vulgarity, and sex in books? Does it belong? Do you know of any books with too many graphic details? Should books with a lot of graphic details be labelled with a disclaimer?