Of Lemons and Limes
Hey. Spazzy (Also know as StarStorm) here.
I know I'm not Weiila, but she's given me a shot at writing this one, so deal.
Anyway, I've come to talk to you all about the birds and the bees. Well, I won't give you the kiddie talk that parents give to their children, if you're here, I'm assuming you already had one, or at least are mature enough to handle the topic. If you aren't, well... this is aimed at you, if you write fanfics.
Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against erotica or eroticism. I have nothing against sex. In fact, I enjoy erotica. But it seems like the majority of fanfics out there that have any sort of erotica in them are the "Cloud sticks his huge sword into Tifa" variety. You get the picture. These sort of fics are called "lemons". (Although, admittedly, I don't understand why, I consider a "lemon" a bad fanfic period. Makes sense actually, when you think of it.)
Erotica and other such "mature" subjects (Which I'll cover in a moment) are VERY hard to pull off without offending everyone. The fact that it will offend someone is always there, there's always someone who will be offended by the littlest thing. But creating a "lemon" or such fanfic is hard to do tastefully without being labeled a sick pervert.
It's often more satisfying, yet harder, to create a "lime". That is a fanfic with IMPLIED sex. It's harder to do, mainly because of the temptation to be explicit and go into gory detail. "Limes" require a subtle mind, after all, to be able to tell everything that happened, and yet don't.
This goes for any uncomfortable subject: sex, rape, torture, etc. Nobody really wants to get a blow-by-blow account (pun intended) of anything bad or disturbing. The only exception is fighting really, in game fanfics, unless you're writing about is about Barney games (and if you do, you really need your head examined.) Conflict and fighting there are pretty reasonable, considering most games have some sort of fighting. The exception to THAT are intensely personal fics, concentrating on the characters emotions, goals, actions, whatever. Fighting can be almost certainly out of place in those fics.
Of course, mature subjects shouldn’t be in the story if it doesn't add to the story in some way. A rule of thumb is that if it doesn't need to be in the story, it shouldn't be in there. That goes for anything really, but with mature subjects even more so. They can be excellent ways to drive a point home, or really empathize with a character and how they act the way they do. They can also made a good story into a horrid one.
Here's a case in point, admittedly egotistical: In "Fall of Zeal", there will be a scene (a flashback really), where the Queen of Zeal is raped by someone she thought a friend (before she became Queen, for very obvious reasons.) I don't intend to get explicit in it, inferring to what will happen. I want that scene because it portrays the mood and theme of the story: the horror of being betrayed by those you trust most in EXTREMELY intimate ways, and it foreshadows Lavos' betrayal of Queen Zeal.
Now, here's a tip for those of you who are tempted to write a lemon: whether it's good for the story or not, write the scene out anyway. Just do it on a separate file, pad of paper, whatever. That way you can look at it a little later and decide whether it would be better implied, or left out of the story completely. If it's best for the story, then leave it in.
If you leave it in, and it makes the story that much more powerful, then it is a good thing. You've done well. However, I must warn all you budding writers: Don't make sex, rape, torture, or such the whole point of the story. It really doesn't show respect for the characters, and it makes you look like a three-year old trying to look "mature" because "I cAn RiTe Ab0uT s3x0rs. I r0x0rs!!!!!!!!111111 d4r h4r!!!!1111"
And it all comes down to respecting the characters of your story, whether fanfic or not. If you respect your characters, others will respect your story, and as an extension, you. If not... well, I need something to laugh about. Remember that your characters have a right to privacy too, and not to be hurt or disgraced without reason (for the story).
Remember that, and everyone who reads your works will be grateful. I know I will. StarStorm out!