WHEN THE CONTROVERSIAL FASCINATES AND APPALS: THE WRITER’S DILEMMA

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Human beings are difficult creatures; my self inclusive. To understand our varied characteristics and different preferences, one needs to learn the art. As a writer, one needs to understand that literary consumers have different tastes, and therefore try as much as possible not to upset them. However, sometimes the writer cannot help offending some people in as much as others are pleased; and this is the kind of  situation when the controversial fascinates and appalls. Some writers for instance are very descriptive when talking about the romantic encounter between two characters. These writers describe the “electrifying chemistry” that takes place when the lovers kiss, and then the description goes a lot further to describe the entire bedroom activity. Some readers practically “savour” such reads as it is the case with Fifty Shades of Grey. But some other readers certainly find such vivid descriptions disgusting, and then you find them flipping through the pages. The same mixed reception applies to depictions of violence and various other controversial scenes you can imagine. The question then is- what is the writer supposed to do in order to avoid this kind of dilemma? Bear in mind that some of this scenes are central to the story, and altering them or even removing them altogether affects the way the story comes out eventually. Moreover, such scenes are often actual events in real life; and fiction tends to emulate reality while being fiction nonetheless.

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The 2014 film GONE GIRL best illustrate what I am talking about because almost the entire story is replete with violence, sex and darkness. Now these are the things that captivate the audience, yet they are the very things that appall some others.

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