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When to know to stop (writing/taboo/realism)

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  #1  
Old 06-04-2016, 03:27 AM
overris (Offline)
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Icon3 When to know to stop (writing/taboo/realism)


Hello there,

so I've been having this problem for a long time: how far can you go with realism? When do you know when to stop referencing real life scenarios, events, nations, societies, behaviours, etc?

I'm about to write an origin story, for one of my sci-fi projects, and I'd like to use a ton of real life references: like cultural behaviours. I have a hint, that I'm walking on thin ice with this idea; especially when talking about taboo subjects (religion, standards, etc.).

The only way I think I can get away with this, is to avoid being specific and balancing the story. But on the other hand, that might ruin the purpose of the origin story, as I want to show what went down, behind the curtain.

I know, If I do this, I won't be able to not to offend at least somebody, but - you know - I don't want to keep a gun under my pillow; just in case.

So, how would you tackle this problem? Or how did you in the past?

cheers


Last edited by overris; 06-04-2016 at 03:42 AM..
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  #2  
Old 06-04-2016, 04:13 AM
Binx B
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There is no limit to realism.

Everything within a story can exist just as it does in "real" world, with the only fiction being your characters and the things that happen to them. The only thing you would have to avoid is something that might be libelous, and there are ways around that.

And I'm betting that whatever you consider as "taboo" or "walking on thin ice" been done and accepted by a wide audience at some point.

Of course, there is always the possibility that whatever you write is going to ruffle someone's feathers. So what? You can't pander to people who are easily offended.

So what exactly is the "problem?"

Last edited by Binx B; 06-04-2016 at 04:18 AM..
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Old 06-04-2016, 04:54 AM
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If somebody is not offended it's probably not worth reading.
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:05 AM
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Well, in some cases I might want to go into analysing cultures and religions, or general behaviours of nations for example, blending it with my imagination to create these future events. Such as:
  • Z country was notoriously known for ignoring human rights; thus resulting in C -> they are the cause of event C.
  • Or stating, that a nation has XYZ stereotypes; and they acted as their (historical) legacy, which lead to event ABC. -> they acted like a four year old, and made big mistakes
This mind end up being racist, stereotypical (like calling them hot headed), offensive, or what ever you can call it. The intention is, obviously, to communicate these events to the reader; and not deliberately say: blue people aren't allowed to travel by bus (but what if they weren't?).

This fear of mine, comes from the fact, that some people on this hunk-of-junk planet, can do unimaginable things, if their pride gets hurt. It might be just me really, but still...

How would you come by people's pride?

ps.: and what happens, when you state something (like genocide), which is deeply censored from a country's point of view; but it is clearly know world-wide.

Originally Posted by Binx B View Post
There is no limit to realism.

Everything within a story can exist just as it does in "real" world, with the only fiction being your characters and the things that happen to them. The only thing you would have to avoid is something that might be libelous, and there are ways around that.

And I'm betting that whatever you consider as "taboo" or "walking on thin ice" been done and accepted by a wide audience at some point.

Of course, there is always the possibility that whatever you write is going to ruffle someone's feathers. So what? You can't pander to people who are easily offended.

So what exactly is the "problem?"
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:07 AM
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The thing is, I'm surprisingly good at offending people

Originally Posted by daes13 View Post
If somebody is not offended it's probably not worth reading.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:29 AM
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If it's a story you're compelled to write, what difference does it make what anyone here has to say about it?

If you're afraid of a fatwa or Chinese government assassins etc. etc., then maybe you should write about something else. No one's going to care except you.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:38 PM
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Howdy.

You said: (I know, If I do this, I won't be able to not to offend at least somebody, but - you know - I don't want to keep a gun under my pillow; just in case.)

It seems to me that if you'e committed to your personal version of the truth and you believe in the truth then tell it.

As to never offending anyone with your writing... You're not being realistic. I promise you that someone, somewhere will be offended. If you can actually write a story so unoffensive that no one is pissed it must be a VERY boring story.

I don't think sleeping with a gun is a good idea. If you have a nightmare you could shoot yourself trying to kill the demon..

wrc
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:00 PM
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("...well I guess I write something much like a painter would, later though I read it back to myself much like a critic must, thus when I write it out I don't concern myself with either its length or my time, yet when I reread it back to myself afterwards that's when I know that I should have stopped sooner while trimming it back to an acceptable length..." related the goblin restarting "...when fluid write, when dry edit, when neither just look for matching pictures, yes this would be my world as it were I guess, thread carefully upon my world here humans for your posts are your ambassadors to your readers still...")

Last edited by fleamailman; 06-05-2016 at 03:16 AM..
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:15 PM
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I guess so?

Tho', my main reasoning was to get educated in the ethics of writing; as I've never dealt with this kind of moral issue (whilst writing fantasy).

Originally Posted by Binx B View Post
If it's a story you're compelled to write, what difference does it make what anyone here has to say about it?

If you're afraid of a fatwa or Chinese government assassins etc. etc., then maybe you should write about something else. No one's going to care except you.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:24 PM
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In a way, of course I'm compelled to write it down. I'm just too astonished about it and want to explore it even further: to discover its true depths. I came to this conclusion right after I thought about some possible explanations for the story itself; sort of like a butterfly effect coming to life.

cheers

ps.: I hate my demons. Who should I call for help?*

*Ghostbusters

Originally Posted by wrc View Post
Howdy.

You said: (I know, If I do this, I won't be able to not to offend at least somebody, but - you know - I don't want to keep a gun under my pillow; just in case.)

It seems to me that if you'e committed to your personal version of the truth and you believe in the truth then tell it.

As to never offending anyone with your writing... You're not being realistic. I promise you that someone, somewhere will be offended. If you can actually write a story so unoffensive that no one is pissed it must be a VERY boring story.

I don't think sleeping with a gun is a good idea. If you have a nightmare you could shoot yourself trying to kill the demon..

wrc
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  #11  
Old 06-05-2016, 01:37 AM
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("...naah, don't let the reality of it get too much in the way of things..." suggested the goblin hoping that overris would forgive the way he spoke though, as humans could become finicky over the wrong things, before adding "...simply they all know it's fiction here yet still they want the escape of it all, so that's ok then as it's lying to those who want to be lied to, thus fiction by its very nature is never the truth, it never was, fiction is just something built up of very plausible lies perhaps, but where the question then to ask oneself is not whether something is actually true or not, nor even if it's correctly written neither, no it's whether it's just pulling still, why, because if it's not pulling then however real, and however well written too, it won't keep those readers reading...", in fact the goblin was supposed to be elsewhere working hard at his job in hand, smiling "...so thank you for not mentioning my reality to me humans, I will let you live, moreover, and by way of recompense too, I promise not to mention such things as donald or hillery or and bernie in one mouthful, you can thank me below...")

Last edited by fleamailman; 06-05-2016 at 01:58 AM..
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Old 06-05-2016, 03:19 AM
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(whoops, double post, meant for my edit thread)

Last edited by fleamailman; 06-05-2016 at 09:15 PM..
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:28 AM
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so, took me a hot minute to somewhat figure out what the dealyo was: so, as long as it's labelled fiction, it's more-or-less OK; and maybe a standard disclaimer wouldn't hurt either.

Originally Posted by fleamailman View Post
("...naah, don't let the reality of it get too much in the way of things..." suggested the goblin hoping that overris would forgive the way he spoke though, as humans could become finicky over the wrong things, before adding "...simply they all know it's fiction here yet still they want the escape of it all, so that's ok then as it's lying to those who want to be lied to, thus fiction by its very nature is never the truth, it never was, fiction is just something built up of very plausible lies perhaps, but where the question then to ask oneself is not whether something is actually true or not, nor even if it's correctly written neither, no it's whether it's just pulling still, why, because if it's not pulling then however real, and however well written too, it won't keep those readers reading...", in fact the goblin was supposed to be elsewhere working hard at his job in hand, smiling "...so thank you for not mentioning my reality to me humans, I will let you live, moreover, and by way of recompense too, I promise not to mention such things as donald or hillery or and bernie in one mouthful, you can thank me below...")
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by overris View Post
I guess so?

Tho', my main reasoning was to get educated in the ethics of writing; as I've never dealt with this kind of moral issue (whilst writing fantasy).
The only ethical decision you have to make is to tell the truth.
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Old 06-06-2016, 04:59 AM
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I'm sensing that there's some melodrama and exaggeration going on with this one. But since we don't know what it's about, I guess we'll never know for sure.
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