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14

Why not just write the story the way the story needs to be written, and then worry (if at all) about if it's palatable to some hypothetical publisher?


11

Honestly, outside of romance novels, things like this are best left to the reader's imagination. There are exceptions (a traumatic rape being one that I can think of, and even then you would want to focus on the emotions rather than the actions), but for the most part, the scene will come out better having left it vague than being explicit. I know this ...


9

For specific publishers, you can use: What they say in their guidelines Look at the level of sex (or profanity, or violence, say) in other titles from that publisher For the general case, it depends on the novel. If you take Chuck Palahniuk's Choke as an example, you can have lots of descriptions of (often weird) sex - and it's definitely not a romance ...


8

That's a question of personal taste and genre that does not have a definite answer. Obviously there are books in which sex happens but that don't tell of the sex itself, leaving it to the reader to infer it all from hints. And there are books that describe the taste and smell of body fluids in so much detail that what you eat while you read begins to taste ...


8

My sense (as a reader, not someone who's published a YA novel) is that you kind of want to liken it to a PG-13 movie. If it's too graphic for a 13-year-old to be watching in a movie theatre, it's probably too graphic to be published in the YA category. However: 1) as John Smithers points out, that doesn't mean your protagonist can't still be a teenager. ...


7

How much detail can go into the act to be considered publishable? How much of the detail is relevant to the plot? If the answer is all of it you probably have a romance novel. If you can cut the whole thing out and have the same novel, it probably isn't necessary.


6

It's all about the story, my friend. The level of detail in your sex scenes doesn't matter. Just write the scenes how you need to write them. The story is the only thing that matters.


5

I would also add to the advice above ; most unpublished or unsigned authors send their manuscripts to agents trying to get taken on. One agent will not baulk at heavily graphic sex while another will consider it crass or gauche. The same is true of publishing houses. By making the novel extremely graphic you risk marginalizing yourself especially unless the ...


5

Taking your example: But say, for example, that a thug character in a crime novel goes on to solicit services of a prostitute - how much detail can go into the act to be considered publishable? I would expect the important parts for story development would be the initial solicitation and the aftermath of the sexual act (the payoff, the ...


4

From "Gone With the Wind": Melanie: That's not fair. The men naturally flock to her. Scarlett's just high spirited and vivacious. Sue Ellen: Men may flirt with a girl like that but they don't marry them.


4

Are you trying to make the women look good, or bad? Like, are they deliberately hurting the men who fall for them, or have they been honest about their intentions and just can't help it if men don't believe them? If you're looking for a negative metaphor, I think the Greeks could probably help. Helen of Troy springs to mind, but maybe also Pandora, the ...


3

I'm not well versed in romance novels, but I did run across this stuff while I was researching for a game I was writing. So while I can't tell you anything about origins, I can tell you some pretty basic stuff about the heat/sensuality system. That's what this is called, in case you want to look it up. First and foremost, this system is not standardized... ...


2

In Québec, we have Patrick Senecal who writes YA books (or the French Canadian cultural equivalent, «romans jeunesses»), and eh is known for his gory and disturbing stories. I think it's an author's decision whether or not to be graphic, and a reader's choice whether or not to read books with very graphic and or disturbing description.


2

There are many factors to this question. Does the sex enhance the novel? If it does, most likely it will be kept. If it doesn't, it'll be up to each individual publisher. Some don't mind explicit scenes, others would rather not have them. It's also going to depend on the genre of the book and who you're targeting. If you're writing YA, Middle Grade or ...


1

If you want to put it in there, then put it in there. Writing is an art form, its YOUR work- I'm not happy with people giving answers about "well only if the actual details are integral to your plot... if you put sex in it then it must be a romance novel anyway...". You can't create boundaries like this for somebody else's work, healthy suggestions are okay ...


1

It's a hard question to answer, it will vary based on your genre. Young teen fiction, probably none or very vague scenes left mostly up to the imagination, there have been many answers to this effect already though. Are you asking for the maximum amount? Well it varies, with adult fiction as much as is necessary but there's a reasonable ceiling to this. As ...



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