Violence and Brutality in Fiction: The Ink Well's Stance

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Let's Talk About Why The Ink Well Does Not Allow Violence

In the real world, there is violence. People are beaten and murdered — violently bludgeoned, stabbed, shot with guns, tortured and strangled. Women are raped and slain. Children are molested. Animals are abused by their owners and trainers.

So… why not write about these topics in fiction?

Our simple answer is this: Why do you need to write about them?

(And if you do feel compelled to write about violence and brutality, go ahead. Just don't publish that content in The Ink Well.)

But there's more to say about this rule, and why.

Stories featuring these topics appear in The Ink Well community nearly every single day. You may not see them, because we typically mute them as quickly as possible.

We have tried everything we can think of to stem the tide of stories featuring abuse, rape and violence. Yet they continue to appear again and again, in spite of all of these efforts, including:

  • Highly visible rules at the top of The Ink Well community home page stating that these topics are not permitted.
  • Our manifesto, which includes our rules about violence.
  • Multiple reminders to read our community rules in every single prompt we publish.
  • Countless comments on stories featuring violence.

Why, you ask? Why shouldn’t you give a voice to the tormented in your stories? Why shouldn’t you create awareness about the abuses of children, and bring to light the fact that there are murderers and rapists out there stalking women?

The answers are fairly simple. Read on.

The Ink Well’s Stance on Violence and Brutality

To make this as absolutely crystal clear as possible, we’ll sum up why we warn writers to veer away from themes of violence, and why we immediately mute stories that actually describe acts of brutality.

  1. Stories about brutality can cause harm. We want The Ink Well to be a safe place to read quality short stories — even for people who have suffered abuse. No one should come to our community and accidentally stumble upon a story about rape, incest or shootings and experience post-traumatic stress. And our community is open to anyone, including children. Remember this.
  2. Violence and cruelty is not art. Stories featuring brutality are typically about creating impact, not about any sort of literary finesse. There are millions of other possibilities in the vast and wonderful spectrum of great storytelling, so it shouldn't be hard to avoid themes about violence.
  3. Our community focus is quality fiction, not disturbing content. In the world of literature, every publication chooses its focus, and what it does not publish or allow. There are publications for true crime, fantasy, science fiction, romance, and more. Here in The Ink Well, we have a very broad focus. We accept all genres. We provide resources and encouragement to help writers produce great stories. But we have chosen not to allow violent content or sex. The rules are very simple: avoid violence, brutality and NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content. This includes images.
  4. We don’t want to read about it. It’s already in the news, in movies and in crime shows. These things are plentiful and are often disturbing, and we simply decline to accept them as part of our community identity.

On this last point, we appeal to your compassion with a note: The Ink Well admins are volunteers who love literature. We are not here to read stories about murder, rape and child abuse.

Imagine if you had a volunteer job that involved watching someone be tortured or killed. Imagine if you explained that this is not what you signed up for and pleaded for it to stop, and the next day you had to watch more abuse and brutality. And it happened the next day too. And the next. This is what we are dealing with.

We hope this helps you to understand why our tolerance level for these stories is very low.

Important note: Stories are allowed if they have very minimal mention of violence — such as a street fight or guns on the battlefield — and the violent acts are not actually portrayed in the story. (Think of a movie, where anything violent is only hinted at, and it happens off camera.) Just don’t include content about acts of brutality against women, children or animals. Ever.

Our Gift to You: Inspiration, Prompts and Resources

Our aim is to support our community, and help our writers continually build their skills. We want you to tap into your inner creative genius, bring great stories to life, and shed insights on the human condition that resonate with other readers.

This is why we provide the many resources offered in The Ink Well. Here they are. Please make use of them!

We have developed 150 prompts and short story ideas to fuel your creativity, and we include this list for reference in all of our weekly story prompts:

We also have a rich collection of tips to help writers learn the craft of fiction writing and improve the quality of what they produce. See our catalog of fiction writing tips, which includes articles on character development, world building, the importance of dialog and action, tips for proofreading, and more. It is also pinned to our community home page for quick reference.

A Final Word: Write Stories! Expand Your Creativity!
Tell us about adventures. About startling moments that remind us of how incredible it is to live this human existence. Give us drama, conflict, and resolution. A mother discovers her child is a genius, but she has him enrolled in a school for the academically challenged. Two women realize they had the same boyfriend in high school. A sleepwalker heads toward a busy road.

Just don't include violence if you're posting in The Ink Well. It's not necessary to tell a great story.

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We would like to invite lovers of creative writing to visit The Ink Well, a Hive community started by @raj808 and @stormlight24 and run by @jayna, @agmoore, @gracielaacevedo and @wrestlingdesires.

We also invite you to follow The Ink Well curation trail on the Hive blockchain, at https://hive.vote/. Simply navigate to the curation trail section and search for theinkwell (all one word with no @ symbol) and our trail will pop up as an option.

Similarly delegations are possible on Hive using the fantastic https://peakd.com/ Hive Blockchain front end. If you wish to delegate to @theinkwell, you can do this from the wallet section of https://peakd.com/

A big thank you to all of our delegators:
@jayna, @agmoore, @gracielaacevedo, @iamraincrystal, @generikat, @marlyncabrera, @preparedwombat, @marcybetancourt, @zeurich, @stormcharmer, @adncabrera, @vision-of-esca, @josemalavem, @morey-lezama, @sayury, @evagavilan2 and @bertrayo.

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