I don't write porn...never will. In fact, I'm not an advocate of using foul language either. But in the world of detective mystery/thrillers there are sick, demented characters who do bad things. One of the things I have learned about the craft of writing is that the author is supposed to show, not tell the reader what is going on in the story. In my book, "Dangerous DNA," there is a scene that is (for the lack of any other word) HOT! The bad guy has his way with a woman who thinks he is her fiance'. The prose is explicit and accurate, but I agonized over my choice of words so that scene would be done as tastfully as possible. When I finished the book, I had several people read it. I then asked readers about the sexually explicit scene, and there were no complaints, except for one guy, who asked me if I had to go to confession after writing it. Yup, there's always one. But how much sex or violence is enough... and when does an author cross the line? Do you know what I was told more than once? That I needed to inject more profanity into the story! "Detectives use more explatives than regular people. You need more 'f-bombs' in the dialog. Hmm. Well, I had four or five f-bombs in the story to begin with, but since so many people made the comment, I took the advice and I added more.
One of my writer friends is perplexed about a scene in his new book when a seven-year old girl is abducted and killed. The scene is short, but after reading the excerpt, I understand why he is struggling to be so cautious. Talk about a sensitive subject. So do modern detective mystery/thrillers require a healthy dose of sex and/or violence? Maybe a better question would be: does the detective mystery/thriller genre excuse the use of explicit sex and violence? Interesting questions. I'd love to get feedback on this. -- Dan