Warnings

Jan. 25th, 2013 10:21 am
moodwriter: (Tommy_bat)
I want to write about warnings because I’m so bad at them. Wanna know why? Because I come from the world of book reading and there are no warnings there. I know I have to warn for rape, death, graphic sex, violence, underage, and graphic kink, but beyond that I have no idea how to warn.

To be honest, I don’t even understand warnings because I don’t need them (and it’s not because I don’t have ugly fears or nasty experiences). The only warnings I do need are rape and death of a main character (and well, anything to do with child abuse, but I wouldn't read that anyway). Beyond that, I can handle my feelings, and even if those come out of the blue, I’ll know if I trust the author enough to take me through those things.

When I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (spoiler alert) the rape scene made me stop reading for a moment. I could barely read through it. I had no idea it was going to happen that violently and graphically even though I knew the theme of the book. I trusted the author, though, and he walked me through it and gave me a satisfying and cathartic conclusion.

I read because I want to feel. Sometimes I feel negative things that make me hurt. I want to feel those things too because through words it’s safe. It helps me deal with things in real life.

So when it comes to warnings, I think there is a limit to what needs to be warned for. I was pretty baffled when Zimothy was asked to warn for transphobia in Prince Among Wolves. I was also baffled when I was asked to warn for bloodplay in Wolf Cub. I would’ve warned for bloodplay if I had used knives and if the whole thing had meant to be bloodplay. Since it was a werewolf scratching his mate I had no idea someone would be sensitive to that. Werewolves, in my mind, equal the possibility of violence, blood, and animal-like behavior, just like vampires do. It’s implied that the stories might have more icky stuff.

People have different kinds of breaking points, but if you’re very sensitive to things then it’s probably not the author’s responsibility anymore to warn for everything. We don’t know what might trigger someone. You know what triggers you. If the triggers go beyond what’s easily warnable (that’s a word!!) then I suggest that you have a friend to preread for you, or that you stick to authors you trust, and read more fluff and less things tagged with violence and graphic sex.

I never want to hurt anyone, but since I don’t understand all the possible things that might trigger people I think it’s necessary for people to protect themselves too and not rely on others to warn for the right stuff.

Also, my first experience with warnings is a traumatic one. I come from the Harry Potter family, and I spent my first fanfiction years on a site that required us to warn for slash. The site also had no slash pairings, but of course they weren’t homophobic. They just wanted to make sure the site was safe for children, and that nobody would accidentally stumble on slash and be appalled by it. Until this day, I haven’t understood how same sex pairings are not child-safe if the ratings are right.

That’s my two cents about warnings. I know I should be better at tagging my stories, and I try to remember to warn for things, but I can’t always come up with the things that might hurt other people. I write a lot of angst. I write pain and raw emotions. I write sad and bittersweet stuff. I can’t always promise a happy ending. I know I don’t make it easy for my readers, and I don’t even want to. What I want to do with my words is to make you feel all the sides of life, the good and the bad. Sometimes awful things happen to good people. Through stories, it’s safe to go through them.

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June 2014

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