This applies to readers, writers, movie-viewers, etc.: What's your limit on sex, violence, and profanity in a story?

How much does the content of the story affect how quickly you reach your limit?

What's worst-- sex or violence or crude language?

I'm one of those people who tolerates just about anything so long as it works in the story. But, if the story doesn't work, I nitpick like crazy. (Probably because I'm bored. =)

What about you?

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Hard to make it interesting when they're in love. Just keep the kids out of it--for me at least.
Okay-- I'll ask just to see what the reponse is-- when are they not "kids" anymore? When are they old enough to have sex?

In Michigan, the age of consent is 16. Just don't video tape it or it's child porn...

Now, I'll say anything 16 and over is game. That's the law in most places. I think the far majority of people under the age of 25 are far too immature to have babies, though.

(I realize this is another one of those morality questions. I just like seeing what people's answers are. I'm curious, if nothing else.)
How old was Lolita? And yes, very young girl with older man is more provocative. I've always wondered about LOLITA. People admire it for its exquisite prose, but was that why they bought it?

And then there are the Mormon sects in this country. Obedience and faith in God. And in other cultures and earlier centuries just about everything was possible. For the author, the trick is to imagine being the very young girl or the old man.
Jumping in here after a long absence. I tend to write very little about sex; my writing is more suggestive in that area. However, I do like to read more provocative passages occasionally.

Some people do think I'm a little violent in my writing, saying that I remind them of King. While I'm flattered by the comment, I don't think I'm THAT violent, but it's up to the reader to decide. I attempt to throw in some humor to give the reader a break from time to time.

I agree wtih LJ that writers need to put themselves into the shoes of all characters and see what turns up. That's a big part of a satisfying writing experience.
Isn't there a huge difference between writing sex and writing violence?

We like murder fiction because we can go into a world that we will never inhabit, where villains are caught and heroes exist. We can act out the grisliest parts of our imagination. However, sex is everyday (for the lucky ones!), and so we open a window into a world that we actually inhabit, and as a repressed northern Englishman, it is the last thing I want to write about. Go straight from the kiss to the cigarette please.
I'm laughing because I know where you're coming from! No sex please, we're British.
I too would feel more comfortable doing it that way--kiss and then they're smoking--cigarettes, that is!
but if the story calls for it--if your characters are kind of on the seamy side of life--and their physical attraction is central to the plot--well! I think I'd put in some in between stuff. As I say--with my w.i.p.--I want the most lurid cover possible! So I'll have to put up or shut up!
Way, way, way back when I was an undergrad and learned about the 'signifiers' and the 'signifieds' in writing it took me a while to figure it out. But when I did and starting writing books, I wondered, why couldn't the signifier be a blow-job?
Goodness! Whatever John! changing the subject--! what are signifiers?
p.s. for all my talk of lurid covers--the only thing that blows in my w.i.p. is the wind!
But the wind is a traditional image for sexual intercourse. In western and eastern cultures. :)
I never knew that!
hmm. I guess than the word: blow--refers to the wind and those other meanings!
what don't you know? mean that very respectively, too!
One of the best writing books I've ever read is actually about poetry, "Poetry as Discourse," by Antony Easthope. It's pretty basic stuff, so most people already know all this, but it was a big insight for me (oh, Jacques Derrida can make it plenty complicated, but I skip over a lot of that - where's Jon Loomis when you need him? IJ could handle this better than me).

Signifiers are just symbols, or symbolic actions. To quote the book, "The message communicated (the coal, for example) is the signified and the means of communication (the truck, in our example) is the signifier."

So, years later I finally figured out it doesn't have to be coal trucks, it can be anything. The signified can be, "I'm so desperate, I'll do anything for money," and the signifier can be the blowjob.

I know, it's usually I'm so desperate for money I'll kill someone, but that seems so final ;).
perfect! thanks and that later example--well I get it now!
so the signified is the condition, and the signifier is the result, perhaps?
Never heard of that book btw--I stopped trying to write poetry a hundred years ago.
When I was quite young I aspired to be the next Edgar Allan Poe I think, everything was too, too deepressing! it was all angst and suffering and heavy handed messages of doom, you know? but I outgrew it.
again thanks for the clarification--especially grateful for that blow reference--it brought it all home!


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