• How graphic is too graphic?

    I had a request for a read from an agent. They decided against taking me but sent a nice letter in response. It still seemed a bit odd to me. The agent praised the quality of writing, said it was excellent. The problem, they (the agent and/or her assistant) had was that the story was too graphically realistic. They were not certain they could sell it to a publisher. Hmm.

    Well, true, what I write is based on actual events, changed up into fictional form, so at times, yes it perhaps can be a bit intense. Yet I wouldn't think that would be a detraction, but should make the story more personal. If a person writes a fictional account of a historic figure using real events and people, such as Killer Angels or The Color Purple, it brings the stories alive, personal, even if some of the issues are difficult to consider. Is it too much when writing in a more modern period to apply the technique? There are all kinds of stories which purport to representing real life, from YA to romance to action, etc. Yet mine is considered to graphic, though it is best described as Urban Crime. It seems a little tough to make criminal acts seem nice and crime in general is rather graphic. It made me think of Lorenzo Carcaterra who wrote some rather graphic stuff, but claimed it was autobiographical. Now he is being questioned on whether SLEEPERS really was his childhood experiences. Would I have had greater success in landing and agent if I had claimed my story is autobiographical? Does it truly make a difference if it is or isn't as long as its a compelling read? Just how close to realism should fiction writing represent real life?

    Just thought I explore others thoughts on the matter. If you have any opinion, please leave a comment.


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