I'm that guy whose given you 15 tips on how not to write a Romance Fic here with an especial group of tips that are crucial for narrative cohesion.
So let's get the heavy stuff out of the way. For the record, this going to seem a bit like a rant then everything else simply because of the subject matter, so there sadly won't be any example's where I poke fun at it...it'll be in the text in a more subdued manner.
So if that isn't your cup of tea or you don't want to read this, please skip this chapter and wait for the next one...
Okay, who's left? Really?
There are Three Subjects that also double as Three Ways to completely Destroy the Narrative Cohesion of your romance fic or any fic if done improperly. At least from my point of view. These three branch into various mistakes, so if you avoid these three then you're less likely to make any of the branch-off mistakes.
I'll list them out here:
Sex: Two characters engaging in the reproductive dance for the purposes of pleasure, bonding, consecration, and/or reproduction.
Rape: Where one or more characters use a warped variant of sex as a weapon against another character for the purposes of domination, evil, cruelty, selfishness, and whatever else you can come up with.
Abortion: When the pregnancy of an expecting character is terminated through planned means (technological; magical; medical; etc.)
...Heavy isn't this? I warned you.
These are heavy topics that need to be approached carefully and with thought. In short, you don't fuck around these subjects...you really don't. If you treat them too lightly, then it's unrealistic and unengaging, if you make it too dark and twisted in a setting that doesn't call for it, you're becoming Hideki Anno and Viral is looking up your address to come kick your ass.
Now I'll explain why.
Ah...the good ol' reproductive dance.
I've read a lot of stories featuring "lemon scenes" where two characters engage in sex. (Question, why are they called lemons?)
I'll be honest, out of these three, sex is the least heavy because there's nothing intrinsically wrong with the act itself. The motivations of those involved can be warped and different societies have their take on what's okay in sex and what isn't. But the act itself is okay.
When portrayed appropriately to the tone of the story that it's in.
In short, don't treat it too seriously if it's in a setting that no one takes seriously anyway. You want to have a male with a foot-long "spear"? Go ahead. You want your female character to be a savage beast in bed when you wouldn't think otherwise from how she is in the outdoors? Fine. You want to have a couple engage in nothing but intercourse for a whole week? Just make sure that they don't miss anything important.
You want them to have vigorous amounts of energy even though their both virgins? You want the girl's stomach to inflate from having her taco stuffed with so much beef? You want to have dirty love making with a rod that presses all the way out her mouth on the otherside?...eh...no.
When writing a lemon, you still have to adhere to the laws of common sense. It's pretty much a fact that no matter how energetic you are or how you horny you can get...the first time isn't going to be a week-long slam fest. That's just not how it happens...I don't care if your Gary Stu ran a marathon around the world and had enough energy to go twice, first contact won't last longer than ten minutes if that long.
Also, don't make the guy's meat SO BIG THAT IT CAUSES PHYSICAL INTERNAL INJURY TO THE WOMAN! THAT'S THE SAME DAMN THING THAT TWILIGHT DID IN BREAKING DAWN! THAT'S BORDERING INTO THE NEXT TOPIC!
DO NOT FORGET ABOUT THE PHYSICAL STRUCTURE OF THE HUMAN (or alien/saiyan/humanoid/insert here) THAT'S ENGAGING IN THE ACTION! The naval is not an orifice...neither is the ear...it is impossible for a woman to have four people inside of her at the same time...If your rod can go so far into a woman's body that it comes out through her mouth, you're killing her because of the organs that you likely had to break through to get there!...MEN...CAN'T...GET...PREGNANT!
Also...unless protection is involved...it's an inter-species relationship with two races where pregnancy is difficult/impossible...or one of the characters is clearly impotent...when you have unprotected sex...there is an 80 to 85% chance that the female will get pregnant. Characters don't get to have unprotected sex and not have to deal with pregnancy.
That's just screwing with common sense...please don't do that.
I know who I am when I say this.
I'm not perfect and I'm a hot-blooded male who likes the occasional sexy woman in battle torn outfits that show off some of their physique and assets.
But rape is one of the most horrifying things that a human being can do another person. It defiles both sex and the victim at the same time by twisting what's supposed to be a consummate and intimate experience and turns it into a nightmare that the victim will never be able to wake up from. Even if the rapist is imprisoned or murdered, the act cannot be undone. Even if you magically restore the victim's virtue or erase their memories, they'll still be scarred by what happened to them on the deepest level. Try as they might, they may never get "better" from the act. It changes them and the people around them forever.
As Bennett the Sage further put it, "Such an act, if included in a narrative, will bring it to a grinding halt.You have to respect your audience and address the issue directly. You do not diminish this violent act by making it the sidestory."
If you're going to put rape into your story, you better address it properly. This is not something that happens and then we all forget about it by running through a field. You don't sweep this under a carpet and leave it there. You have to keep it within the attention of the audience, you have to show it's repercussions.
That's why, out of the all three issues, this is the one that I'll tell you to steer the furthest away from. Once you put it in, it's a game changer for both your story and the characters involved.
With that in mind, I'll say this with utmost sincerity and respect...HOWEVER THE FUCK CAME UP WITH THE IDEA THAT RAPE IS LOVE IS A COMPLETE DUMBASS! IF I EVER SEE THAT IDIOT IN MY CORNER OF TOWN, I WILL MURDER THEM IN THE STREET!
Sorry...I wouldn't go quite that far...but...damn it! I hate the "Rape is Love" trope! Rape and love do not go hand in hand. If you really love someone so much that you have to force yourself on them, then it's not love. Love is selfless; rape is absolute selfishness!
And whoever thought that a woman believes she's loved because she was raped is horribly misinformed about the female psyche or the human psyche in general. Especially with something like sex.
Maybe if the author were to make clear that the victim's mindset isn't in the clear through some circumstance, then it could work. But only if the victim comes to their senses and brings the rapist into the open for what they did and gives them what they deserve.
Another trope that came from this that I really don't like is to demonize the third party by having them rape or attempt to rape one of the characters. Especially when it's someone who fans know would NEVER commit such an act. I won't name it, but I once read a fic where Riku from Kingdom Hearts raped Kairi and then laughs about it when Sora finds out and confronts him. I...I couldn't take the story seriously after that...and I had no desire to even read further at all...
You don't use rape as a catch-all indication that someone is evil...especially when it horribly rips apart their set character cornerstones. Now there are characters who could do it...namely someone whose already evil or has already crossed the Moral Event Horizon. I'm not too surprised with fics where Gendo rapes/attempts to rape Rei, Ritsuko or some other woman. The man is complete monster already, him raping someone else would just be icing on the cake at the point.
That said...Shinji tying up Asuka, Rei, Mari and Hikari and repeatedly raping all four repeatedly while laughing maniacally before setting their beds on fire with them still tied to it would be the product of a sick-depraved mind. Shinji may have self-esteem issues, he may have jerked off to unconscious Asuka while in the midst of a mental breakdown, and he does need therapy...but Shinji would never rape someone...I don't care how OCC he is or how much the author is bashing him.
YOU JUST DON'T DO IT!
I'll keep this one brief.
Have the character's decision in mind, ensure that they explain why they made the decision and have them endure the consequence of that decision.
There's good and bad arguments on either side of this topic. But if you're going to bring it up, you better know what you're talking about. And the mouth-piece that you use better be an appropriate one.
I'm not going to listen to the Joker berate Harley Quinn for wanting to having an abortion...HE'S THE JOKER! HE'S A PSYCHOPATHIC MONSTER WHO COMMITS HORRENDOUS ACTS BECAUSE HE THINKS IT'S FUNNY! I'm not going to listen to the Comedian tell convince a rape victim to have their baby...HE SHOT THE WOMAN THAT HE KNOCKED UP WHILE SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH HIS CHILD! I'm not going to see Twilight try to preach about this subject...IT'S A STORY WHERE A TEENAGE BRAT IS CHOOSING BETWEEN NECROPHILIA AND BEASTIALITY AND GOT PREGNANT BECAUSE THE STORY BROKE IT'S OWN RULES WITHOUT EXPLANATION!
That's all that I'm going to say about this one.
That wasn't so bad...or hard to write.
I'm not going to tell you not to include these at all. But if you are, you better know the subject matter and either treat it with the weight it deserves or make the situation with the subject so ridiculous that no one will be offended because it can't be applied to real-life.
Example: South Park makes fun of everything and this makes it either a great show to some or a bad show to others. One example of this is with Mr. Garrison's constant change of sex and gender and the wacky situations that he gets into. It touches on all of the listed subjects, but the situations and Garrison's reactions to them are so ridiculous, so non-realistic and very fitting with South Park's tone that they're hilarious! At least to me.
Or the episode where the boys had flashbacks where Indiana Jones was raped by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to symbolize how terrible the newest Indiana Jones movie was and how Lucas and Spielberg "raped" the series and a lot of people's childhoods. That was pretty funny...at least to me since I actually liked the new movie and the notion that Indiana Jones was "raped" is a huge exaggeration. And that's what made it funny!
When an Abridged Series takes something makes it somehow funny, they do so in respect to the subject matter. Hell, HBi2k couldn't go with his original plan for the ending of Berserk Abridged because he couldn't make a particular rape scene funny. He said something to the effect of: "There's a difference between joking about the topic of rape and joking about rape when it's actually happening in the scene."
You know the trope: Rape is funny when it's x on y? Like it's giant amazon women raping Fry and Zapp on Futurama? THAT WAS HILARIOUS! Because they're about to be raped to death, but they're also about to have "snu snu" with a tribe of giant amazon women. Plus, it's a comedy, so the writers are poking fun at the situation and these idiots rather than rape itself. The humor here came from their alternating reactions from horror to joy; from pain to pleasure.
But...BUT!...That only works if the tone of your story will allow it. If it's a parody or a humorous story, then you can do something to that effect if you're really good and only if you keep the comedy focused on the situation and not exactly the act itself.
That's why I seemed kind of lenient in the sex category. In truth, there are people out there with ridiculously large lances and some people "ascend" quicker than others during the reproductive dance...it's all relative. It's fanfiction, you're probably writing in a category where the laws of physics are already taking a backseat, so go ahead and have fun with it. Just don't have too much fun to where it you break the laws of common sense.
If it's a drama...or a tragic story...no. You give this situation the weight that it deserves or don't bring it up at all. I don't care if it's not a downer situation and you only have sex in the story, give it the attention that it deserves. Hell, do that even if it's a humorous story, trust me, there's a way to balance humor and reverence.
Even if it's only in the backstory of a character, you stay consistent on how it's affected them and what became of it's results. You don't have an important character casually mention the number of times that her abusive stepmother drugged her and whored her out to men twice her age for a cigarette and then never deal with it physically, mentally or psychologically.
So there you have it.
I've had that on my mind for a while and wanted to share it all with you. For those who don't think that I'm too qualified to talk myself, I was kind of sparked by a pair of fics that really pressed my buttons by disregarding the major two topics of the three that I mentioned.
If you have anything that you'd like to add, a counter argument, your own opinion or an idea for the next chapter...put them in the review or send me a PM.
Until next time, read, write and review.