Tagging Abuse

#1
So there are some scenes and backstories within my story that have abuse, but I generally wanted my fiction to be readable by a majority audience. I wonder how the community deals with this. I was going to put [warning: abuse] in the pre-chapter notes, but then wasn't sure if I would need to label the whole book with 'content warning: traumatizing content'? Also, if I tag a chapter with multiple scenes and only one of those is related to the abuse, should I somehow bracket that content for the reader to be able to skip? How do others deal with this issue? 

Re: Tagging Abuse

#2
I suppose it depends on the overall tone of the work. 

If you start the book with "Traumatic Content" warnings, and it's thematically consistent, I wouldn't worry too much about re-stating the fact overmuch (perhaps if you feel there is a particularly gruesome scene you may want to give an additional warning with some specifics to avoid upset).

I had a chapter in my book where it became thematically inconsistent (perspective change to the antagonist), and so the chapter before and of the scenes I made sure to put additional warnings within the authors notes.

A few chapters later there is another scene where similar violence played out which I did not tag. Why? By that time, it had become thematically consistent in the MC's experience as he became more inured to violence. As the audience should have too (at least in the narrative structure of the story. I hope this doesn't carry across ever to their RL lives.)

That's my opinion on the matter. Hope it helps!

Re: Tagging Abuse

#3
Carl Wrote: If you start the book with "Traumatic Content" warnings, and it's thematically consistent
See, I don't have traumatic content warning as of right now on the entire novel. I have a warning in the particular chapter because it's revealing that element of the character's life in that chapter - but it's otherwise not a grim story, and I had thought putting the tag would imply that it was a major force of the story or that it is heavily explicit or gruesome. Most of the story will be the recovery from said trauma but I don't intend for abuse scenes to be a norm. Similarly in how there can be fighting monsters without having to label gore. I wondered if I needed the Traumatic Content label at all over the whole novel?  I hesitate only in that I don't want to give the wrong impression.

Re: Tagging Abuse

#4

Kathy Wrote:
Carl Wrote: If you start the book with "Traumatic Content" warnings, and it's thematically consistent
See, I don't have traumatic content warning as of right now on the entire novel. I have a warning in the particular chapter because it's revealing that element of the character's life in that chapter - but it's otherwise not a grim story, and I had thought putting the tag would imply that it was a major force of the story or that it is heavily explicit or gruesome. Most of the story will be the recovery from said trauma but I don't intend for abuse scenes to be a norm. Similarly in how there can be fighting monsters without having to label gore. I wondered if I needed the Traumatic Content label at all over the whole novel?  I hesitate only in that I don't want to give the wrong impression.
If you want to play it safe, if any chapter has content that *might* fall under the warning? Tag it.

Re: Tagging Abuse

#5
I really appreciate the warning tag in the chapter. I leaves it to me to decide if the author has the chops to treat the trauma with care or if it's going to be used for shock value (only one of the two I'll actually support with continuing to read).

I'd add the tag to the story too - because after a scene like that it should change the narrative tone of the story. If it hasn't had an impact on the character - then why have the scene at all.

Just my two cents as a reader (first opinion), and as a writer (second opinion).

Re: Tagging Abuse

#6

A Wrote: If it hasn't had an impact on the character - then why have the scene at all.
Yeah that's very true, and of course it does have an impact on the character. As for the story tone I think yes it will change for the readers, as an insight into how and why him and the other characters he's with deal with the world. It also is a huge thing for them to eventually free themselves from and heal from, but that will take time narratively. It's a dystopia, so that element of abusive control is thematic to the world. But all that being said, I don't want to linger too much on the details themselves because I find it can be in poor taste. But yes, I get now it's more about the overall impact rather than the scene itself. Anyway this is all to say that it's all tagged now. 


Thanks for the help!