Wednesday, February 11, 2009

That's A Big Fat NO!

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.


Anonymous said...

Anything scat related. I draw the line at certain play--and I wont even read anything that goes down that path.

I also avoid gay holocaust erotica [yes it exists] and while I have read some [I only liked 1 of them] it is something I avoid.

Amanda Young said...

Great topic. Scat is pretty much my only ick factor. Although I don't care for it when a M/M story suddenly gets a female dropped somewhere in the middle just for the novelty factor.

Zoe Nichols said...

ggymeta - I hear ya loud and clear. I'm all for worshipping the body...but I'll pass on worshipping some of the...leavings of the body.

Mandi - S'bout my only complaint with menages. But then I don't even like a third guy in there. So I guess I'm just impossible to please in that respect ;)

Amanda Young said...

Nah, I'm all about the fellas. If someone wanted to write a story with 5 guys running the train on each other, I'd be there. :)

I don't have anything against menages, I just like to know what I'm getting myself into before I buy something.

Kassa said...

I don't mind menages if they're well done, but it's a tricky business for sure.

I think death is especially tricky because it's so personal. The grief and moving on is individual and how long does it take? Days, weeks, months, years, decades? Everyone reacts differently so I think most readers react according to their personal feelings.

I dont have many "NO" stories but I'm not a big fan of ex's in stories. It's one thing if it's a good friend you messed around with but someone you have a long romantic history? Move along : D

Louisa Edwards said...

I have to say a character death would make me pretty mad--depending on where it fell in the story. Towards the beginning, so it's clear that our hero will get to meet another Prince Charming and live HEA? Okay, fine. But close to the end? No. Because even if he meets someone new and the ending is hopeful, it can't possibly be as satisfying as seeing the growth and development of the new relationship.

Also, second the scat squick. No thanks. Although I've actually read more than one story that made golden showers work. Still not my favorite thing, though.

chocolate minx said...

I suffer from depression, so I will not read BDSM which represents torture in my mind,use of body fluids, or character death. I read m/m HEA to lighten my moods. Sex with a Were shifter, incest with a third is all good. I like explicit HEA and I want to see ratings on the blurb, so I don't waste my time or money on sappy romance or depressive storylines.

Zoe Nichols said...

Mandi: We already know my opinion *dimples* Though I admit to a curiosity now. Maybe I just read the bad ones?

Kassa: I'm telling you, read Diving Deep! You will like Noah more and accept his presence in CC!

Louisa Edward: Very true and very well said! Uh and golden showers? Oh my! You're far more worldly than I - anything with water sports sends me flying in the other direction!

chocolate minx: Hey there! I like seeing a reader who knows exactly what she wants. Even though, I'll tell ya what, I dunno if I could do incest threesome. Yet another far more adventurous person than I!

chocolate minx said...

I meant Twincest with a non-family third, m/m/m Gemini by Chris Owen and there are 2 more, titles escape me at the moment, Torquere authors though. Also has all kinds of stories by up & coming authors, some I pass on, others have potential. FYI Diving Deep is one of my favorites, so be nice. *grin*

Zoe Nichols said...

Gemini is my love. It's the only twincest AND menage that I've been able to not only read but also re-read...constantly.


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