Sometimes I have the opposite problem, my ethics of care being deployed upon my characters and wishing to keep them from harm, thus limiting the potential of the narrative. This has been a problem that it has taken me a while to recognise and resist, characters do need to feel the full weight of their own stupid actions sometimes I cannot continually ‘rescue’ them.
My own personal ethics mean that there are some things that I will not write or that I consider carefully before I include them. These include:
- Graphic torture – I don’t think that I would write a story which would go here, but if I were to use torture, it would not be graphic.
- Violence against children especially sexual violence, I don’t want to read this and I certainly don’t want to write it.
- Maiming characters – Although I am happy to kill characters, I don’t like to maim them. Because a) it’s disgusting, b) women writer who maim male characters, like Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre, really seem to have deep seated Freudian issues with men and castration fantasies, not something I would like associated with me. And c) did I mention that it is disgusting!
- Violence against animals – I really cannot stomach violence against animals. I might add that I am a meat eater, but I place the same rules around killing animals as I do around killing people in my work. It has to be relevant to the plot, and it should not be revelled in. I try to limit it to situations where it is culturally relevant, and illustrates the world of the story, if it served no purpose it would not be included.
- Lastly, I am very careful about the way I depict women, I want them seen as whole characters and not as objects. This is something I find particularly important in representing sex. I try to write women who have power and subjectivity, not ones who are desirable objects.