Several years ago I remember reading “Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovac Bk 1)” by Richard K. Morgan. I was so into it! I was loving the mystery the main character had to solve; the colorful underground denizens he had to deal with; the elite aristocracy and the excellent sci-fi, cyberpunk elements. As I’m reading and loving the book, out of nowhere is this Rated X scene.
For me that experience was like driving fast down a freeway only to crash into the divider, before continuing on. It was so abrupt and detailed, I was stunned for a bit. Why did the author feel the need to write that into the story?
As a consumer, I picked up the book to read a good cyberpunk story, not erotica. If I wanted erotica I would have picked up any one of the hundreds of paranormal romance novels dealing with werewolves or vampires.
After leaving a review of that book on Amazon.com, I received a lot of “unhelpful” votes. Nobody had the guts to leave a comment as to why they didn’t like my review. Thus, I’m left “assuming”:
- They were offended by my simple “Warning: This book contains adult content”, in my review
- They didn’t leave a comment because they wanted such debased content
- They didn’t want to look like a pervert by complaining on my review with an actual comment
I had some really great sci-fi / fantasy reads this past year. In EVERY case, the author did NOT have to provide graphic sex and if sex was happening it was like the movies from the 40’s where it was all off-screen. This kept the story flowing and allowed me as a reader to enjoy the story for the elements I was looking for when I picked up that book.
Yes, not everyone is like me; a Christian writer with a writing mission statement that doesn’t allow for room for such content. Yes, others are out to make a buck and sell books, so they pander to the masses who are enthralled with sex, violence and profanity these days.
It is my humble opinion, authors who write such content are also consumers of such content and thus their minds are in gutter while pursing this creative endeavor. Some may call me old-fashioned or prudish, but until the day books are required to have a rating like movies and call out what type of content is inside them, I’m going to blow my trumpet of discontent with such writing.
Anyone who actually kept reading this post and reached this point, let me try and make a balanced statement on the topic:
Yes, you could choose to add in graphic sexuality into your writing and reach an audience who is totally fine with such content. But, if you chose not to, could use not reach an even broader audience? I think so.
So don’t limit yourself and consider it a challenge to write better prose that doesn’t include key adult content.