True to Character

Bed

I am currently struggling with “graphic language” issues. Comments on Envy.exe about people recoiling in horror at the graphic sex scenes have me reconsidering.

I have an idea.

You should be able to adjust the rating level on a novel now that there are electronic books. Why limit them with the same static rules that print imposes? The reader should be able to slide a bar from PG to R rated or more graphic depending on the type of novel and not just on the sex scenes. Graphic language does not always pertain to the romance portions but in the words chosen to describe the action and scenery.

Take this scene in Hate.Dat. Tara and Howard are attending a charity dinner at the Ritz Carlton on South Beach. I have rewritten the arrival paragraph ten times already. The key elements are missing: Horror and Tara’s sense of humor about it.

I still don’t have it right.

Here are the rated version of it so far that a reader could slide the bar on. Question is which one is closest to Tara’s character? If it’s the r-rated version then I am going to have a hard time dialing back the graphic language for this novel. It’s written in first person so … yeah.

G-Rated

The drive down Collins Avenue near South Beach in Howard’s Apha Romeo Spider with the top down was interesting.

PG-rated version

On the tattooed, pierced, leather tanned skin of the Miami-Dade diaspora, South Beach is an erupting blemish. Predators and the prey are nearly indistinguishable. Wear what you want or nothing at all. Do whatever you want to anyone you want. It is a fetish freak show. There are over ninety languages spoken in Miami and one hundred and eighty nationalities represented here and they can all be found on some piece of the real estate of South Beach. Almost everyone here is from someplace else. They may have been nice and normal on their home worlds. After spending a few nights on South Beach? I guarantee you the mother ship that dropped them here? Isn’t coming back for them.

PG-13-rated version

On the tattooed, pierced, leather tanned skin of the Miami-Dade diaspora, South Beach is an erupting, oozing zit. Predators and the prey are nearly indistinguishable. Wear what you want or nothing at all. Do whatever you want to anyone you want. It is a fetish creep show. If you are watching it from the comfort of your convertible as you drive through, then that makes you a voyeur, and if you are not giving the people on the street something to watch, then you need to loosen the hell up and leave your inhibitions on the MacArthur Causeway bridge and get sown with the sickness. Howard and I are fully clothed and sober. Thus, we? Are the freaks here.

R-Rated

Convertibles are popular in South Florida. Not because we enjoy sunshine and fresh air when we drive, but because when we drive down roads like Collins Avenue near South Beach we do not want to miss the show. Nearly all the restaurants have sidewalk seating so we can watch people doing everything anyone might only consider doing in their bedrooms or bathrooms, out on the street. They change clothes from the skin out, urinate, defecate, copulate, grope, molest, murder and even cannibalize each other in full view of voyeur and security cameras, diners and drivers-by. Tinted saran wrap passes for fully clothed. Guns. Drugs. Unimaginable poverty and wealth, unlimited perversions, with virtually no laws enforced other than the “No Parking” signs maintained by the merchants make South Beach one of the most Salvador Dali-esque tourist destinations in Florida. John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester’s poem A Ramble in St. James’s Park could have been written about South Beach.

“Much wine had passed, with grave discourse
Of who fucks who, and who does worse”

St. Jame’s Park-South Beach. It’s where all the cool people are hanging out.

x-rated?

Skipping that version. It’s not that you can’t do an x-rated and entirely realistic description of South Beach, but even I cringe at the imagery because I have actually seen it … over lunch on a Collins Avenue side walk Bistro.

I think Tara is R-rated. Sigh.

1 comment

  1. Vicki Mar 3

    I agree. You need to keep the characters true to themselves or you will find the writing hard going. They won’t be true to themselves and you won’t be able to live with them hollering at you.

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