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Advice on writing a sexual assault scene needed

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Old 06-28-2017, 06:54 AM
donnaf (Offline)
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Default Advice on writing a sexual assault scene needed


I really don't want to be insensitive to those who have been raped or appear to be glorifying the act. Does anyone have any suggestions on how such a thing could be written in a "tasteful" and sensitive manner and yet still convey the horror and evil of the act without trivializing the affect it has on its victims? I am thinking of just leading the reader up to the point she is forced into a room alone with her attackers and leave it up to the reader's imagination to put 2 and 2 together. Would that be wussing out?

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Old 06-28-2017, 10:46 AM
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No, I don't think that's wussing out. The word on its own conveys its import sufficiently.

Nice to see you donnaf - I remember you well. How are you? x
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:57 PM
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Doing better these days. Had an unexpected move to deal with that threw off the writing mood for a while. Nice to see Writers Beat is still around.
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by donnaf View Post
I really don't want to be insensitive to those who have been raped or appear to be glorifying the act. Does anyone have any suggestions on how such a thing could be written in a "tasteful" and sensitive manner and yet still convey the horror and evil of the act without trivializing the affect it has on its victims? I am thinking of just leading the reader up to the point she is forced into a room alone with her attackers and leave it up to the reader's imagination to put 2 and 2 together. Would that be wussing out?

Why go the cliche way?

If the victim became the victor ... yeah, I know, not hackneyed enough.
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:38 PM
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I could never write a graphic rape scene. I've read some and I'd prefer not to read any more.

I don't think it's a cop-out to not be graphic. The art is in conveying an idea with the appropriate emotions and context so the reader 'gets it' without the gore.

Not to disparage the graphic writers, it's just not my thing.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:29 AM
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I wrote a scene that takes you through a sexual assault. It's written from the P.O.V. of the victim.

I did it with dialog and with the characters thoughts -- and tried to convey her emotions -- surprise, fear, anger etc.

There's no doubt about what's going on, but the physical aspect isn't at all graphic or explicit.

Just write the scene -- you might surprise yourself. Or you may find that a fade to black is better.

Or you could post it here. There's no way you or anyone can tell if it's going to work or not without reading it and seeing it in context.

P.S. Donnaf -- if you're at all interested in the scene I wrote, it's in this story that I posted here:

http://forums.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=36566

There's a final section designated with three asterisks -- it's the last several paragraphs before that. There's actually more physical description than I remembered -- but it's still not very explicit.

Disclaimer -- I've since edited the story, but not a whole lot. The writing's a little precious -- too may commas and italics...

Last edited by Myers; 06-29-2017 at 04:50 AM..
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick Pierce View Post
Why go the cliche way?

If the victim became the victor ... yeah, I know, not hackneyed enough.
Unfortunately, the victim is murdered. The story follows her "life" after her death. They'll get theirs but it's going to be a while.

I just don't want to write something that is tacky and sensationalist (?).
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Myers View Post
I wrote a scene that takes you through a sexual assault. It's written from the P.O.V. of the victim.

I did it with dialog and with the characters thoughts -- and tried to convey her emotions -- surprise, fear, anger etc.

There's no doubt about what's going on, but the physical aspect isn't at all graphic or explicit.

Just write the scene -- you might surprise yourself. Or you may find that a fade to black is better.

Or you could post it here. There's no way you or anyone can tell if it's going to work or not without reading it and seeing it in context.

P.S. Donnaf -- if you're at all interested in the scene I wrote, it's in this story that I posted here:

http://forums.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=36566

There's a final section designated with three asterisks -- it's the last several paragraphs before that. There's actually more physical description than I remembered -- but it's still not very explicit.

Disclaimer -- I've since edited the story, but not a whole lot. The writing's a little precious -- too may commas and italics...
Thank you, I'll have a look at it.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:55 AM
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Myers: That was well written and gave me some ideas. As soon as I have the scene written out half way decent I will post it for review. Thanks!
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Old 06-29-2017, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by donnaf View Post
Unfortunately, the victim is murdered. The story follows her "life" after her death. They'll get theirs but it's going to be a while.

I just don't want to write something that is tacky and sensationalist (?).
Balancing the scale from the other side of the dirt.
Works for me.
Write on.
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:34 PM
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Well you need to know your audience. Tacky and sensationalist sells, and it probably always will.
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:17 AM
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Hello there,

That is indeed a tricky question. I think leaving things up to the reader's imagination is not a bad thing per se. In most cases, anyway. However, I think that rather than it being tasteful or distasteful, the main question I would ask myself is what purpose does it serve.

Not the act in itself, but the choice of graphically describing it. If I wanted the reader to feel terror, I would ellipse the whole thing. Leave it up to the reader's imagination. If I want the reader to feel rage, I would describe it, but not be very graphic. And if I want to piss the reader off, elicit feelings of revulsion or else, I'd describe it graphically.

That is on the emotional spectrum. Then, there is something else I would take into consideration.

For instance: if, during the act, the rapist pulled on the MC's hair. Then, quite some time afterward, the MC has sex and her partner begins to pull on her hair, she freezes. Drama then ensues.

These kind of cases cannot be resolved without being kinda awkward, I think, if there is not some description of what has unfolded earlier in the story.

That was my two cents. Thank you for reading. And sorry if I'm completely off track.
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