Monday, November 23, 2009
Taboo or Not Taboo. That is the...Aw You Get it!
by Naima Simone
A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a fellow reader about Nalini Singh’s first book in her new paranormal series, Angel’s Blood. We are both Nalini Singh fans but she admitted she couldn’t read Angel’s Blood. As a Christian she didn’t agree with Nalini Singh's use of archangels as protagonists. It offended her.
That started me thinking.
Are there certain things, as writers, that are taboo? Are there particular subjects, topics and beings that are off limits?
I’ll be honest. I’m a Christian, too, but I wasn’t offended by the archangels. They were terrifying, beautiful and powerful creatures that set the stage for a unique and awesome book. But I’ll also confess that years back I had to shut off the movie, City of Angels, with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan half way through. I don’t know if the notion of an angel giving up his immortality for a human woman troubled me or if it was Nicholas Cage’s acting…no offense to any Nick Cage fans. But he needs to stick to one-liners and blowing stuff up, not drama.
Alas, that’s another blog…
What is taboo, though, and who decides whether it’s forbidden or not? A few years ago BDSM in romance novels was taboo, but today, some people wouldn’t consider it a full love scene without a little slap and tickle. I remember the first time I came across anal sex in a love scene. I had picked up Cheyenne McCray’s Forbidden Magic. Imagine me sitting under the hair dryer at the salon reading about demon sex then suddenly…What the…? He put his what WHERE?? I was floored! Today? Not so much.
It’s a slippery slope when we begin to limit ourselves. Yes, we have to consider who we’re writing for and if it’s sellable. On the other hand, if we allow that to rule our creativity, those exceptional and wild ideas aren’t given the opportunity to be birthed. Then we lose out on Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters, Lora Leigh’s Breeds…C.S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.
This is my opinion and only mine. Do I believe there are some lines that don’t need to be crossed? Yes. There’s nothing romantic about a grown man and a child. There’s nothing sensual about a woman and an animal—and I’m not talking about the kind that morphs from man to wolf during the full moon! Here’s my rule of thumb as a writer. I don’t write for just me because I’m not an island. When I write, I think of “the other”. The person who will read the book and walk away uplifted, believing love and good will always conquer evil. The person who will read a love scene and feel the sharing, sacrifice and desire one partner has for the other. If the reader closes the book or file experiencing this, then whether it’s an archangel, vampire, or huge talking lion we should have the freedom to write without limitation.
Do you believe there are taboo subjects and lines that shouldn’t be crossed as a writer?
Posted by Naima Simone at 10:17 PM