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Author Topic: Just how taboo is it?  (Read 8138 times)

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wonderactivist

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Just how taboo is it?
« on: March 19, 2010, 12:15:24 PM »

I've read that rape is taboo in mysteries, yet the book I've just written contains a 3-paragraph rape: a violent, non-sensual situation.  These two characters are well-known to the reader and it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone - it's actually part of a major turning point in the plot. 

As a woman and a writer I feel strongly that the rape has to stay.   On the other hand I have heard that it just is completely taboo in mysteries-or is that just cozies?  I think that's unreal.  Having been raped I think it's a Truth that needs to be told more often and can be empowering for women to read about surviving one. 

What are your opinions either way? 

Buckets of thanks,

Lucie
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Dave Freas

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Re: Just how taboo is it?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2010, 01:11:06 PM »

I would say in a large part it depends on you and on the story.  If the rape is essential to the story, leave it in.  If it's done for shock value, scrap it.

I heard at one time that killing dogs was a no-no in crime stories--that it was a millstone around the novel's neck that would drag it hastily to the depths of the rejection abyss.  Yet I've lost track of the number of books I've read where bad guy (and even a good guy or two) has killed a dog.

Hope this helps.

Dave
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Bob Mueller

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Re: Just how taboo is it?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2010, 03:43:33 PM »

I think it's also going to depend on your target audience, and your publisher. A pages-long violent and detailed rape scene is probably not going to get picked up by Zondervan or Bethany House, but the might take an off-screen paragraph.

Lucie, if you'd like an opinion on your particular scene, you can email the chapter to me, or post the scene in Critique Area.
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Bob

Sometimes it takes therapy to put the past behind you. Other times, it takes a 20 gallon trash bag and a couple of cinder blocks.

wonderactivist

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Re: Just how taboo is it?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2010, 06:26:29 PM »

Thanks Dave & Bob.  I may just take you up on that, Bob.  Just give me a couple more days-maybe a week- to finish this first round of edits.  Then I'll feel ready to start getting it out more.  I'm still a bit nervous, but I'm feeling really great about this project.  I wrote the first cahpter of the second book and it actually relates back very directly to this rape scene.   

Whether of not it goes anywhere, I like it and that's what counts. 

Have a great weekend,

Lucie
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daringnovelist

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Re: Just how taboo is it?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2010, 01:53:23 PM »

In one of Archer Mayor's books (Fruits of the Poisonous Tree, I think) the protagonist's girlfriend was raped.  While the scene itself wasn't depicted, she gives really graphic testimony.

I think when people talk about a taboo, they mostly mean cozy.  And frankly, I wouldn't consider that a taboo - just common sense.  Rape is definitely not "cozy".

Camille
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Kat

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Re: Just how taboo is it?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2010, 10:07:11 AM »

I agree with Camille. The crimes in cozies, mostly murder, happen off stage with no gory details.
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