Starting a Book with sex / "consensual rape"


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Thread: Starting a Book with sex / "consensual rape"

  1. #1

    Starting a Book with sex / "consensual rape"

    I am currently reviewing a friend's book. They are not quite skilled in writing, English not being their 1st language, and asked me to give it a once over.

    The thing is, is the "intro" / prologue is sex. Leans somewhere between consensual and rape. She agrees but there's a bit of manipulation [both heavy handed / obvious and more devious] by the guy into the agreeing.

    Now to me such books smack of smut. And this book has sex but it's got a lot more depth than just simple smut and mind-boggling relationships that are so out of this world you can't help but laugh reading them.


    My question is, would you read such a book. Would you merely write it off as some frilly romance. Or what?


    I'd really like some help because aside from the intro, it's very good to me and I've read a lot of books of all genre. However, without that intro the book is a tad disjointed.

  2. #2
    When you say "sex", do you mean it's mostly graphic sex, as in body parts, their size, and all the interesting ways the characters work them, or do you mean it's mostly about the manipulation and deviousness and the physical act is pretty much glossed over?
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  3. #3
    It depends on whether or not that is what the book is about--a sort of trial or drama unfolding from this manipulated sex act that the book opens with or similar then it's ok. If it's just thrown in to be smut then no.

  4. #4
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello Dove

    'Somewhere between consensual and rape' is a lot like 'somewhere between pregnant and not-pregnant': she either consented or she didn't and if she didn't, it's rape - plain and simple.

    Having said that, if the Prologue is to set the scene for the story and it makes sense within the context of the story and isn't just a bit of gratuitous sex at the beginning to get readers' attention then it might turn out to be good story telling. We would have to know more about it to make an informed decision.

    Writing sex into a story that isn't proper erotica can be fraught. The trick is to re-write the prologue, chapter or section in question with the sex left out and see if it's still a good story. If it is, you didn't need the sex in the first place. The same thing can be said for violence and gore.

    To answer the question properly you have to read the entire story then ask yourself again whether the sex in the Prologue added something to the work or not.

    All the best with your writing.

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    Riis
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Riis Marshall View Post
    Hello Dove

    'Somewhere between consensual and rape' is a lot like 'somewhere between pregnant and not-pregnant': she either consented or she didn't and if she didn't, it's rape - plain and simple.
    I agree with the comparison, however, it can be taken either way the way it's worded. He coaxes if you would her over some of her hesitation but there's always that background taste of if she really thought about it the answer would be no.

    As I said, it's not badly written. I may post a snippet when I get the 10? posts is it for fiction writing.


    As for the smut vs. sex vs. graphic mentioned above. It's not horribly graphic as some sexual scenes are in smut and non-smut books (some people's writing makes you wonder if they're writing sex or a comedy with the words and tone used) however, it's not quite glossed over either. Just somewhere in between.

  6. #6
    Sadly there are still zillions of books like what you describe that sell very well. The cover art often still looks like Fabio. It's hard to give advice on what's good writing vs. what the market wants. As you might have guessed I would rather put pins in my eyes than pick up "Fifty Shades of Gray".

  7. #7
    Sex is nor a plus or minus for me.

    All that matters is its relevance.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dove View Post
    Now to me such books smack of smut.
    I don't think you should judge.

    Yes I would read it.

    As I understand it, one version of the 50 Shades screenplay started off with a good spanking.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Riis Marshall View Post
    'Somewhere between consensual and rape' is a lot like 'somewhere between pregnant and not-pregnant': she either consented or she didn't and if she didn't, it's rape - plain and simple.
    I couldn't agree more. I'll go one further. If a person doesn't realize that there is no 'A little bit raped' then maybe they aren't the best person to judge the merit of a book about the subject.

    And to go you one further - sex is great. It sells cars and beer and aftershave and .... well .... more sex. To sprinkle a bit here and there in a novel? Well, I don't do it. Romance? Ok.

    An aquaintance of mine recently mentioned that since he upped the Sex and Violence quotient in his novels that they are selling better to the ' 50 Shades' type ladies. Aside from a pathetic comment on society as a whole, what does that say about him as an author.

    Not to say that a novel with a Rape scene from page one cannot be done with some kind of class but it would have to be either a legal drama about how the SOBs that did it get arrested and convicted and sent to the big house where they are on the wrong end of a 300 lb. amateur proctologist named Bubba for the rest of their lives or a revenge novel about how the victim hunts them down one by one and roasts their chestnuts.

    Other than that I think the subject matter should be left alone. And an uninitiated, amateur writer tackling the issue .... and especially in the first chapter? This smacks of exploitation. This gives new meaning to the Inciting incident. Sounds really low, low class.

    Maybe people should learn a lesson or two from the Paris attack at Charlie Hebdo. Just because you have the right to free speech and the freedom to write whatever you want doesn't mean that you should. Are there any subjects that your pal won't write about? What's next .... a blow by blow account of pedophilia? Hack by Hack at a Rwandan school yard?

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  10. #10
    I'm in the sex, even of the non-consensual variety, is fine so long as it matters to the story camp. Heck, it's fine with me if sex is a huge part of the story, or even the entire story (if it's intended as erotica). Truth be told, I prefer honest erotica to a story with gratuitous sex used just to get attention.
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