I like breaking rules. I'm all for destroying society's conventions, wrecking the calm and causing general chaos. If I can make a whole room of people go "WTF?", I'm pretty happy with my lot in life. When I do this though, I'm also aware of the line I'm pushing. I'm conscious of what path I'm treading if only because being Out There is all well and good until someone doesn't forgive you for breaking their brain!
And that's my rather silly intro into my post: since I started pro-writing, I've been fascinated (some might say morbidly so) with Reader No-No's. Ya'll know what those are. The big things in books you won't go near, that makes you scowl on cue. I don't mean bestiality or necrophilia (say it with me now: EW) but things like infidelity, character death, incest and so on.
With the growth of m/m, we've had the chance to indulge in some fantasies so incest/twincest isn't so taboo anymore (me personally - never been the biggest fan. Cousins yeah, I can work with it. Brothers? Nah.) but the other no-nos I mentioned are still, well, no-nos.
Why can't these so-called terrible things happen? We handle homophobia and racism in stories because they're facts of life. Sad facts, but facts nonetheless. So why not infidelity or death? Is it because they threaten the fragile nature of romance in general? Homophobia and racism don't exactly stop a love story do they? In a way, they enhance the affection, making it that much more potent.
I suppose infidelity does make it hard to handle a relationship but I also think if you can get over it, you have the chance to make your romance stronger. Character death, I admit, is harder. You've fallen in love with the partner as much as the hero/ine has...and then he/she dies. It's a letdown and a harsh one. But...that's not the end of the romance. I never could understand why we made death the end-all. I mean, yes, the partner is dead.
Yet don't we have widowers in stories all the time? Usually with sweet, cherubic demons we call offspring and the emotional scars to boot. They, the widowers, are the epitome of Let's Try Again. So what's wrong with handling the death 'onscreen'? My curiosity gets stronger each day and my fingers just itch to write. I adore a challenge, particularly when that challenge could potentially break down a couple of Walls of Expectations. This isn't to say that I can write that one story about infidelity or whatever that will blow your ever-loving mind and convert you.
But it does send my brain into overdrive. Why not write something taboo? Push that line and defy conventions and traditions. Doing the unexpected and the unique just juices me, man. Especially when I think that maybe, just maybe, someone will enjoy the rollercoaster ride with me.
So I'm curious: what won't you read? What squicks you so badly that the minute you see the word/scenario, you leave skid marks running in the other direction? And to go along with what I was talking about, what don't you read but would consider reading if it looked interesting enough?
For me, the usual "NO" stories are about blood brothers. I don't read menages or really like them but I have certain authors who I'd read if they ever wrote a poly story so I can't say I would never read them.