Friday, 3 July 2015

Rape Scenes Are Lazy Writing and Why You Shouldn't Write Them.

This article in Wired has made me rethink my fiction quite a bit lately:
Half the time, people can’t even seem to figure out how to define rape, let alone portray it in responsible ways. Indeed, one of the most baffling things about so many rape scenes in popular culture is that the people who scripted them felt qualified to do so, despite seemingly knowing nothing about rape except that it exists and it is bad. In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no.
It's a well-written piece about the use of rape as a plot device and why it's most often unnecessary and makes for lazy writing.

I agree with this and I, for one, don't enjoy rape scenes, no matter how crucial it is to the plot in a story.

Yet, with that in mind, I must say the article comes at a crucial time for me as I was drafting out an outline for a future short story which happened to include a rape scene. The scene would have involved a woman raping an android and how that would be the spark that moves another character (the protagonist, also a woman) into action.

The article forced me to rethink my outline. Would the story work without the rape scene? Could something else replace it and be the catalyst to move the protagonist into action? Here was where it hit home for me. It was true -- making it a rape scene was taking the easy way out in plotting. I had to think deeper about what the story truly needed for its plot. Surely there would be a better way to advance the story and build the character in a way that wasn't demeaning.

I'm not sure if I've found a better replacement for the scene, but I'm glad I was forced to rethink the part so the story can potentially be stronger. I find that when you rethink certain elements of your story, you're forced to rethink the motivations of your character. And when you solidify their motivations, you're on your way to building a better and more believable character.

Anyway, we'll find out if I was successful when the story is eventually completed.

2 comments:

  1. I stopped reading Arundhati Roy's 'The God of Small Things' (and abandoned my goal of reading all Booker prize winners) after the graphic scene in the cinema where the boy gets etc etc.
    I was angry at the writer - why write this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having never read it, I wouldn't know. But it's possible it had a point it was trying to make, or perhaps to justify a later scene. Who knows.

      Thanks for dropping by again, Shark!

      Delete

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