I am kind of at a crossroads with a story I started writing earlier this year. In the story the character is being blackmailed by a 17 year old he slept with who he didn't know was 17 at the time that they did it. It's between two men if that makes a difference. The thing is I like the dynamic of the blackmail because that's the basis for the story but I guess he could easily be 18 and just videotape the sex or something and blackmail him that way because he is a married man. I'm just wondering if I should change this detail because I know pedophilia is a huge taboo in most publications and I don't want to ruin any chance I have of getting the story published. In my personal opinion, if a 17 year old wants to date someone older than them, that's their choice but I know the age of consent isn't the same in every state and the story takes place in a state where it is illegal. Should I change this detail to make the story more accessible or is that selling out so to speak???
Pedophilia is totally taboo in most publications unless it is in the "true story" category and you are looking at it as a disorder and recommending either treatment protocols or legislation. I had 2 books published that contained pedophelia but it was self-help books for abused women and the material was in the voice of the victims and used as a way to demonstrate that it is possible to develop a healthy life in the present no matter what happened and further that the victim has no responsibility for the assaults to her life in the past and is only responsible for how she proposes to live her life in the present. It is about empowerment, not titillation.
Fiction using pedophila cuts your publishability down from ite present fraction of 1% for all submitted work to a small fraction of that fraction. And even then, you have a possibility that your work will be banned by churches. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity. That may be true if your name is Norman Mailer but it doesn't apply if your name is aliensoul77 or (aka) simon morris.
Best of luck in making editorial decisions for your story, but remember that luck is always the end product of careful planning and consideration of all of the facts surrounding the decision.
Lollipops and unicorns,
If I were you , I wouldn't change it. It does add an extra ick factor to the married man, however. If you want the married man to be viewed as a serious pervert, keep it. If you just want him to be viewed as a regular person who cheated - take it out. It all depends on the idea you are trying to convey.
If people changed thier work just for fear of no publication we would have missed out on a lot of really wonderful stuff.
Just my opinion tho. Do what you think feels right for your story.
Well, he was lied to by the kid who said he was 18 or at least he assumed. I guess the basic concept of blackmail will still work in the story if he secretly videotapes it and threatens to show his wife because the danger factor is still there. I mean it's meant to be a subversive story. It's about a guy who is closeted and married with a child and stalked by one of his fans (he's an author) and the kid tries to manipulate him into reenacting sadistic scenes from his own book to 'inspire him'. @simon--well, I write transgressive fiction. I use psychology as a basis for understanding borderline or sociopathic personalities in my work, not to represent as a preferred lifestyle. For instance, I wrote a story about a woman infected with HIV who infected men on purpose because she felt they deserved it. That is the type of psychology that fascinates me as bleak and dark as it sounds. When I see the news, I want to know what drove that woman to drown her kids, why that guy killed everyone in his office, etc. I think these are the keys to truly understanding mental illness.
In the story you describe, I think it would be better if he were 17. Just my opinion.
1 for pedophilia, 1 against. lol
What's funny is the gender dynamic...would it change your opinion if it was a 17 year old girl and a 45 year old guy? Do people automatically assume a girl is the 'victim' of the man?
That is an interesting point. I wouldn't see a female as a victim nessesarily, but I am one, so it might change my view. Although I think it would be easy enough for a man to see a woman as being manipulative in that way.
I actually think it's a little empowering in a sick way for a young girl to manipulate a 45 year old man with sex.
I think you should go for it, especially if your story revolves around it.
Lolita, was controversial but acclaimed. If your story and writing is good enough the topic will be less interesting in comparrison. You may have a few na-sayers. But isn't that the fun?
Write your story how it was meant to be written. If every author changed a taboo topic in their book just because the publishers might not like it, we wouldn't have much in the way of classic literature or good contemporary fiction.
Also 17 is hardly controversial, messed up sure, but you're a step away from 18. To be fair I recently ran into a similar problem. I'm working on a NaNo novel. One of the characters is a young girl who's run away from home. She's had to do some questionable things to survive. She's also suffering from early symptoms of schizophrenia and has erotic fantasies about being buried alive. She's 17. Part of me wanted to change it to 18. But even with the mere one year difference, I can picture more vividly a 17 year old running away from home over an 18 year old.
Screw self-censorship man. There has been plenty of books with pedophelia as the basis of the story published. Some with the kiddy piddler as the protaganist even.
:cough: the naked lunch :cough: Your story is fucking fantastic. Keep it, it wouldn't be as fun and awesome otherwise. And, again, the naked lunch. Pedophilia, drugs, rape, sex, hanging, torture, pedophilia, hallucinations, drugs. If that could get published, The Savage Self can get published too...
17? That sounds fine. Hell, I think you can even make the kid 16. I'm not saying pedophilia is okay--Both my parents were abused as children, and I had some bad experiences myself. But it's different if the "victim" actually wanted it--if the "victim" isn't a victim at all, but the predator. I think it adds a great twist.
I would be interested in reading it!
Thanks everyone for the feedback. This is exactly why I joined this site so I could get feedback from other writers about questionable topics. I know you liked the story typewriter, thanks for the shoutout. Im wondering if I should submit it inthe workshop again here since it was previously on the cult but there are so many new peeps here. I would like more opinions on the actual story. Hmmmm...what's funny is I am questioning the pedo aspect of the story and not all the other elements in the book that are way more demented. But you know us americans and our sexual taboos. We can watch people get decapitated in a movie but heaven forbid there is nudity on tv.
That's not pedophilia though. Pedophilia is legally 14 and under and categorically being attracted to pre pubescent children. Statutory rape is a lot less taboo, IMO.
I think the underage aspect makes it a lot more dramatic and would make the blackmail sting a lot more.
aliensoul, totally, I'd like to see how much you've done with it. It would be really fucking funny if one of my stories got published over where you are. Let me see, ungraphic sex, SO MUCH SWEARING, torture, murder, gender confusion, suicide, terrorism... ^_^ if that appeared in a school library, my hate mail pile would drown me.
The brits seem pretty open minded but I did hear human centipede 2 got banned over there. I actually haven't one a whole lot more with it. Im struggling with writers block at the moment.
Yeah censorship really isn't too big an issue in England. Obviously there are some exceptions. The Human Centipede 2 was a surprise but if you read the wikipedia synopsis there are some pretty brutal parts. Still, I was dissapointed it got banned. Now it's unbanned but with lots of it cut.
It also depends on the age in regards to different countries. For example in England consentual sex age is 16.
Write that story and then post it for critique. You'll know real fast if the age serves the story.
I second what Renee said. It's not pedophilia at all but statutory rape (if the younger person presses charges). I guess pressing charges makes for easy revenge for anyone at that age (or for the parents who are bothered by the relationship). Now it's more problematic when the older person is in a position of power (such as a teacher) - in such a situation I can see it as abuse, if there was something to be gained (even favors), which the older person used as a lure or even blackmail.
This is a story closer to statutory rape, to be sure. But regarding pedophilia, I think Nabokov's Lolita broke ground with that.
Maybe it is just my opinion, but I hardly consider the involvement of a 17 yo to be pedofilia. At worst it could be considered ephebofilia (the desire for teenaged adolescents). 17, in particular, is close enough to 18 that I do not see much chance of repercusions from the anti-pedo front. Most of us knew exactly what we wanted to be doing abed by the time we were 17.
Keep on as you were. It is not a morality issue, but for your married character there are the obvious legal issues. Stick with that.
As long as any topic, no matter how taboo, is tackled with good form and the right aproach to match what you are really trying to say, never shy away from the rougher or dirtier facets of life or literature.
Just downloaded 120 days of Sodom to my Kindle.
Let me know the best way to plan a man/woman/donkey orgy.
yeah gonna second a few other posts.
1. Pedophiles are attracted to pre-pubescent children, not 17 year olds
2. There are very few places where it'll illegal to sleep with a 17 year old. Age of consent in most US states and throughout europe is 14-16 generally.
Also, I've written a sex scene between a 16 year old girl and a 28 year old man and I write YA. Very little is considered "taboo" these days, unless you're writing for the Christian market. There was a YA book that came out a few years ago that's a love story between a 16 year old girl and her 17 year old brother. IT's an unapologetic incestuous romance and it was released from a major publisher.
What you've written wouldn't raise eyebrows in many markets.