This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
AU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Australia version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > Matters of the flesh

Matters of  the flesh
Writing Magazine

Matters of the flesh

Posted Friday, 4 December 2015   |   3749 views   |   General Interest   |   Comments (0) How much sex and violence should feature in your crime novel? Author and tutor Claire McGowan tests the limits

Sex and violence. What do they have in common? Aside from possibly earning a film an 18 certificate, they are both topics you should handle with care in your novel. There are two main things to think about here. One is the possible reaction these topics will draw from the reader. The other is the impact they will have on your book. I’ll deal with the former first, as I think it’s actually less of an issue.

Many new writers worry about what they are ‘allowed’ to include in their book. Is anything taboo nowadays? Even in crime writing, which often features the goriest and most chilling murders? Amazingly, the most avid and bloodthirsty crime readers can still be upset by surprising things. Cruelty to animals, for example, often gets a big thumbs down. Killing off a dog or cat may inflame even the most mild-mannered bookworm. It’s fine to kill off vast swathes of human characters by the most horrible methods, but leave that pooch alone.

Swearing can also be a surprising flashpoint, especially with American readers. One of the characters in my first novel, The Fall, is a young inner-city woman who swears like a trooper. I’ve had some comments about it, but I honestly believed that was the way she would speak, and so I left it in. I don’t have as much swearing in other novels, as they are more plot-driven. It’s an issue of voice – if you are confident your character would curse, then I’d say leave it in. Just be aware that you may get some Amazon comments attacking your questionable vocabulary, and make sure you are very clear on why it’s there.


For more great articles like this get the November 2015 issue of Writing Magazine below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - October 2018 Replica Edition included
$7.99
Or 799 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.25 per issue
SAVE
34%
$62.99
Or 6299 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.83 per issue
SAVE
27%
$34.99
Or 3499 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.99 per issue
SAVE
25%
$5.99
Or 599 points

View Issues

About Writing Magazine

Writing Magazine is the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for ALL writers. Whether you write for pleasure or publication, whatever your style or genre, this magazine has something to help you.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Writing Magazine today.

Most read articles this month


ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

When she took up scuba 40 years ago, Alexandra Hildred had no idea that her life would become inextricably linked with a Tudor warship. Now the Mary Rose Trust’s Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance & Human Remains, she tells STEVE WEINMAN about the lead-up to the raising of the iconic wreck, still one of the biggest such operations ever attempted. More...
The 5 Best Photography Magazines

The 5 Best Photography Magazines

Here at pocketmags.com, we have the 5 best photography magazines to inspire and inform your skills and get you snapping away with your beloved camera of choice! More...
The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

From the early days of digging our hands into playdough and getting messy with paper mache, to growing up and learning how to meticulously operate a needle and thread for the very first time, we will always have the wonderful movement of arts and crafts to thank for these simple pleasures of life. More...
The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

Get ready to pack your things and go - it’s time to hit the road Jack! Put the pedal to the metal and ride the route until the sun goes down - after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination. More...
The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

It’s time to literally stop and smell the roses and grow a patch of paradise that you can not only enjoy but also, be the proud owner of. Give the birds and butterflies a reason to mingle amongst the tulips and a chance for your garden to be the best it can be. More...
The 5 Best Knitting Magazines

The 5 Best Knitting Magazines

To help pass a rainy day away or to practice amongst friends, knitting is one of the great historical pastimes suitable for anyone, anywhere. At Pocketmags we have the 5 best knitting magazines to help get the needle in motion! More...
The 5 Best Art & Painting Magazines

The 5 Best Art & Painting Magazines

With the 5 best art and painting magazines from Pocketmags, you’ll never be stuck staring at a blank canvas for hours again. Discover the expert advice, guidance, tutorials and motivation you need to create the art and paintings you love! More...
THE U-BOAT COAST

THE U-BOAT COAST

The WW1 U-boats at Pendennis have been dived for many years, by many people. The site is probably the second most popular shore-dive in Cornwall. Thousands of trainees did their first open-water dives there, most seeing the remains of one or two of the U-boats. Not sure what to write into their log-books, other than 'Silver Steps’ or ‘Pendennis’, what were these subs? MARK MILBURN investigates, and believes he can now paint a clearer picture of what lies where and why More...
The 5 Best Fishing Magazines

The 5 Best Fishing Magazines

Avid fisher? Or simply passionate about the pastime? Feed your fishing thrills with our 5 best fishing magazines from Pocketmags and cast your line with confidence today! More...
IMAGINE MESSI TEACHING YOU TO PLAY FOOTBALL

IMAGINE MESSI TEACHING YOU TO PLAY FOOTBALL

Not all ‘pro’ photo workshops are the same – on some you just pay and hope. But what’s it like learning to get the best from your camera under water from a recognised master? HENLEY SPIERS studies at the school of Mustard More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points