Friday, September 18, 2009

Things I Never Plan to Write About

I was listening to an audio book the other day at work (I won’t say which) but as the story moved on, I could see a scene coming that I was dreading. Now, mind you, this was a fluffy kind of story so serves me right for being annoyed by the fluffy scene, but I could see that the story was about to come to a childbirth scene and I wanted to fast forward with the quickness.

I closed my eyes and prayed the author would not go into detail, but my prayers went unanswered. Then I thought to myself, Karen, why are you SO annoyed with childbirth scenes? Is it because you’ve never given birth?

Um…that’s a big fat no. I don’t want to read or see child-birthing scenes, not because I’m put off by it, or I’m squeamish—I work in a Perinatal Center for crying out loud—but it’s because it’s all clichéd to me. Unless someone dies during the birth, or the baby comes out as a green alien, I’m not interested in reading a childbirth scene.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve worked with pregnant women for quite a while, have witnessed my share of childbirths that I know that anyway to make childbirth entertaining enough for it to be part of a book, tv show or movie, then the writer is going to have to fall back on some clichés. The panicked father, the rushing to the hospital, the mother cursing the father for putting her through all of the pain, the mother cursing the staff and begging for drugs…ENOUGH!

Really, my main problem with the childbirth scene is that it rarely ever moves the plot along. It’s always used as a device to either inspire comedy with the screaming mother and the bumbling father, or it’s used to stir emotion as the parents stare down at the precious bundle of joy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love babies, will probably have one…one day, but if it’s not moving the plot, leave it out. And for as many childbirth scenes as I’ve read, I have yet to read one that really needed to be there. I’m starting to feel the same way about wedding scenes in books.

As much as I hate to say never, I don’t think I’ll ever incorporate either one of those types of scenes in any book I write. Will I have pregnant characters? Probably. Will I have characters who get married? Yup, I do believe I will at some point. But will I actually write the childbirth scene or the wedding? No.

So tell me, what things will you never write about?


TereLiz said...

Wow, this is a very thought-provoking post topic. I hate to say never, but I do hope never to write a rape scene or a scene containing graphic spousal abuse. But I have many writing years ahead of me, and my pov may change.

I probably wouldn't ever write a childbirth scene, either because I've never given birth. It's not something that inspires strong feelings in me.

Karen Denise said...

Good point! I've never thought of the rape scene, but I think I'm with you on that one. After just finishing The Lovely Bones, I have to say that scene was hard to read (even though it wasn't overly graphic), but it stayed with me for days. While, like you, I don't want to say never because I hope to have a long writing career ahead of me, I don't know that I'd want to get my head into that for as much as I would have to to make it realistic.

As for the domestic abuse, I may be able to write that easier than a rape scene, but it would probably take a toll as well.

Amanda The Semi-Published said...

Birthing scenes rarely seem realistic to me. They never seem as long as real labor, but I don't know that anybody would want to read about being in labor for hours and hours unless something else was going on. So, though I've given birth, I doubt I'd write a birth scene either.

Graphic sex scenes rarely move the plot forward, but that's not why I don't think I'd write them. I write a lot of scenes that deal with character development but don't move the plot. I don't think sex scenes develop character either. What leads up to the sex or what results from the sex is more interesting, in my opinion. Well, for a story anyway. LOL

Karen Denise said...

Yes! LOL. Can you imagine reading a 6 chapter long birthing scene jsut so it could reflect the realtime feel of childbirth? Shoot me now if I ever had to read that! lol. And truthfully, I've never come across a woman who was cursing her husband for getting her pregnant...cursing him for saying and doing stupid thing, yes, but that's it.

As for the graphic sex, I don't mind it too much because I don't read those types of books too often so when I come across one, I'm usually like...holy crap! somebody turn a hose on me-lol.

Amanda The Semi-Published said...

LOL! You're too funny. :)

After I had my twins friends kept telling me to write my birth story and I'm like- WHY?????

Karen Denise said...

LOL! They were probably telling you that because you retold the birth story in an entertaining way. People used to suggest that to me about when I used to work in a prison. I HATED that job, why would I want to spend months, maybe years writing and reliving that???