Cody Furlong wrote:...or try to cut it down, and change it a up to make it more PG 13.
I had that same conundrum a few years ago when I wrote a couple of stories. I wanted to explore more mature, character-driven topics and themes, and to realistically try to portray peril in a way that felt dangerous, while still not going too far for the audience.
For the sake of discussion, I'll go ahead and list my specific writing rules for the typo-laden Girls, Guns & Grit series
. You'll have to decide your own rules for yourself
1. No profanity. I have the vocabulary of a sailor IRL, but I always find it distracting in SK fiction. Maybe a choice, low level swear once, but even then (in hindsight) I think I'd probably change it. I'll usually try to dance around that with a token "swore under her breath," or "made a profane response not suitable for children's' ears," description in lieu of actual dialog.
2. The repercussions/aftermath of violence without delving too deeply into the act of violence itself (i.e. violence has to serve a greater narrative purpose and not just to exist for its own sake). This was particularly difficult in Ten Twenty-Four
, and in hindsight, I think I failed that rule a little bit
3. No "on-camera" nudity. References to this are vanilla and not very detailed, and like violence, have to serve a narrative purpose. No long paragraphs describing how certain parts of anatomy glisten with perspiration
4. The repercussions/aftermath of...intimate relations, and not a detailed, play-by-play description in real time. The audience can probably use their imagination on that one, much as many network shows will (or used to) fade to black/end scene. You know what really happened without having to see it
5. My most controversial rule: treat everyone as people in a real world. This was a stylistic choice, partly derived from artistic license and partly out of laziness as working in pronouns and world references had a tendency to derail a lot of pieces of dialog and descriptions, so I just decided not to even try. And, it didn't go unnoticed either, as the great Kristen Sharpe noted it in an early beta read:
[His hand] felt dry and coarse, like the hand of a mechanic.
"I realize that this story has pretty much ignored the fact that the cast are humanoid cats, but this part did make me wonder if that's something one would notice when touching a hand that's either furry or covered in some variation of a cat's rough paw pad."
Those were my general writing rules, all geared toward writing something that (hopefully) had a broader appeal while still adhering to a PG 13 or equivalent rating in terms of content, with hopefully enough subtext to allow readers to infer things they wanted to without being super explicit.
Whether or not they're good rules (and they probably aren't) is subjective. Some people write better with imposed limitations, as the freedom to do anything
can oftentimes leave one overwhelmed by possibility and thus be creatively paralyzed.
A few token ones
- Make an outline first
- Have your ending always in mind
- Know your audience, and write for that audience
- Have fun - if you're not immersed in your world, story and characters, how can your readers be?
And, the most important rule of all: there aren't any rules, just guidelines and suggestions. Do what works for you (and by extension, your audience) and see where it takes you.
Cait wrote: Just remember that if your are going to post content here, it must be underage.
Well, yeah, there are rules here