Have You Gone Too Far?



I’ve probably touched on this subject enough last week since I mentioned darkness and torture.  So, this time I’m only going to leave a question here for people to reply to in the comments.  Primarily because I won’t be around much this weekend.  One of those things where I’ll get a lot of dirty looks if I whip out my phone.  Dear god, I pray I’m not the person who forgets to turn his phone off.  Maybe I’ll just give it to my wife until I’m free to reclaim it.

Anyway, have you ever written a story where you pushed some limits?  I’m talking about having a character cross a line that you’d never cross in real life.  If you did, how did you handle it?  If you didn’t, would you ever want to?  (I do hope to get more than yes and no answers here.  Enjoy the weekend.)

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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31 Responses to Have You Gone Too Far?

  1. All the time, but not what you’re thinking. My characters have killed people, but so have everyone elses. If you want to get to the gritty part, I still worry about how Jason Fogg is perceived. He spent a large portion of his time using his powers to invade women’s privacy. When he finally does something good with his powers, some still won’t think it’s enough to redeem him. Even Lisa Burton hacked into peoples private accounts, and performed some DNA tests, that weren’t authorized.


    • It’s funny how we can shrug off a character killing and stealing. Yet any type of invasion is practically unforgivable. I think it deals with a sense of violation that can’t be undone. Death is final and stolen items can be recovered. That feeling of security isn’t so easily revived.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. L. Marie says:

    I have an assassin character who enjoys his work, even to the point of killing beloved horses. I didn’t write his scenes lightly. Each scene took a toll on me emotionally. That’s why I couldn’t write his scenes every day. I could only write maybe one. Then I would have to take some time away from him to debrief.


    • Horses are always a strange factor in stories. Animals in general if you think about. How many times have we read or seen horrible events in fiction, but only the humans get killed? Kind of unrealistic in a way, but people do react more to an animal dying than a person. So I can see how the character killing a horse could be rough. Was there a reason he did it or just for fun? Sounds more psychopath than assassin.


      • L. Marie says:

        Well, he has some psychopathic tendencies. He did it to stop the main character from getting away from him. Nothing stands in this dude’s way. The horse’s death was the hardest for me to write about. I knew I had to go there though.


      • Honestly, that sounds like a good strategy. Outside of fiction, it wouldn’t really cause an eye blink. I think I’ve accepted the hard kills as part of reality.


  3. twixie13 says:

    One of my antagonists is a serial killer. There have been a few of her kills that’ve made me step back and ask “The hell is wrong with you, Jesse…? What’s your problem?!”. But of course, Jesse feels no remorse for the whole thing with the sledgehammer, or the acid, or any of book 3. And then there’s Arsyn, my cannibal…She’ll target anyone that might make for a good meal, and is positively elated to find one that could regain lost limbs and come back from the dead: saves time on hunting. I also have my assassin characters, but they have a moral code and don’t make me wonder what my own problem is (in addition to the characters’ own issues).


    • Cannibals are always a headache when it comes to going too far. You can’t have them hold back considering one of their main purposes is to eat other characters. The psycho killers are even stranger at times. Some parts of society have become desensitized to the common methods of killing. So you need to make Saw look like Fried Green Tomatoes to get a reaction. Have some good ones coming up for Dawn in October.


  4. Well I write murderers quite a bit and that’s a line I haven’t crossed in real life… though if one more driver cuts me off while I’m on my bike, that could change… 😂


  5. I can’t say I have ever had a character cross a line I would never cross unless it is the villain. I think though for your question you are wondering about having a character take a step over a moral line. I have to say that John Cannon did seem to lose his way by romancing two different women. He did pay for that but under the circumstances, I don’t think I would have done what he did. When I wrote it I had a little feeling that I was doing something naughty. In a strange way, it felt good.


  6. I have in the past with one character. He wasn’t a horrible person but alcohol and events happening around him caused him to cross the line with a girl he liked. It was a dark place and written when I was much younger. However, it taught me that you can go to some depths that you normally wouldn’t and come out wiser.


  7. Did you go too far? I would toss a question back — is the scene honest? That is, are the characters involved already established as having that darkness in their character? Then write it. Will the story feel fake if the characters don’t go there? Write it.

    Does it upset or frighten you to go there? You probably still should challenge yourself and write it.

    Is there an alternative way to achieve your plot and character goals, that is still honest, without going there? Then maybe write the alternative. For me, it comes down to the truth of your characters and story.


  8. Pingback: Writing Links 4/3/17 – Where Genres Collide

  9. I did once. I write for children, so I’m usually careful, but the ending of my book “Yua And The Great Wizard Hunt” tends to shock readers a little. It may have been because I was hurting so when I wrote it, having just lost my dog (who one of the main characters is based on)or it may have been something else. Either way, I let the little girl in the story get her revenge, and though the other characters were shocked, she acted like she’d done nothing worse than spilled something to make a little mess. I thought about changing the ending, but then let it be published as it was, with a content warning in the book’s blurb. The book still gets reasonable ratings though, so I guess readers don’t mind too much that I went a bit too far.


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