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Thread: Warning for Murder

  1. #1
    Sixth Year Hufflepuff
    Voldemort's on the Back of Your Head, Professor
    Ginny Weasley Potter's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Warning for Murder

    Well, luinrina (Bine), cirelondiel (Chelsea) and I had a discussion in the Badger Bar today, about a warning for murder, and here are some points:

    Originally Posted by cirelondiel
    And I just thought of something I forgot to write about when I answered the warnings TQ. What about a Murder warning? We have warnings for Suicide specifically and Character Death in general - but I'm sure some people might be okay with reading a fic where someone dies naturally, but not a fic which features murder. Hmm.
    Originally Posted by luinrina
    nods* Makes sense. Maybe someone will one day write a thriller fanfic or something... *babbles* I agree with you, Chels. Some fics might/do have scenes with Death Eaters murdering someone. Character Death in my opinion is too weak as a warning then. Hmm...
    I can't help but agree with them. Murder is something that all readers may not be prepared for, and just Character Death is insufficient, sometimes. My own fic, Killer Instincts will have scenes of murder and as the banner says it all, they won't be pretty.

    So... I just wondered if we should have a 'murder' warning in the list?

    Thank you.
    ~ Pooja

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  2. #2
    Ultimate Cosmic Power Hufflepuff
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    Roxy Black's Avatar
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    May 2006
    We have a violence and a character death warning. Murder is a mix of the two. Whilst it may be a good idea, wouldn't it be more confusing to have all three warnings?

  3. #3
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
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    voldy_mort's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Saving my own soul
    Hmm, I disagree. I think that, while there are Character Death and Violence warnings, these warnings are very ambigous, like, you could say Violence is when Harry slaps Ron, or something like that, which is completely different to the other extreme of violence where you kill someone. So, while you may be prepared for violence like that, you may accidentally see a fic with murder that you weren't prepared for.

    And Character Death isn't half as serious as Murder, at least to me.

    However, would scenes where Voldemort just mutters the two words actually count as Murder? Even though they die, it's not horrifying stuff...

    Just my 1.5 cents. I hope I made sense... did I?


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  4. #4
    I don't like the Character Death warning. It already requires me to tell readers beforehand, "Someone is going to die in this story," which might be a bit of a spoiler.

    Requiring authors also to warn beforehand that someone is going to be murdered requires them to telegraph the plot even more. And is someone being killed in a battle the same as "murder"?

    How about warnings for torture, bigotry, domestic violence, and any other thing that might disturb some subset of readers? How specific do you want to be?

  5. #5
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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    Tim the Enchanter's Avatar
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    I agree with Inverarity - I don't particularly like some of the warnings, since they may contain spoilers and they sometimes scare readers away (which, I suppose is the point). I'd prefer having fewer warnings and only for things certain readers would find offensive/objectionable, like profanity, student-teacher romance, etcetera.

    With that said, I think that warnings like character death should be removed - sure, reading about Ron's death could be upsetting, but is that offensive or inflammatory? Personally, I think the ratings like 1-2 Years or 6-7 Years are sufficient to cover the lesser warnings, and the warnings should be limited to things readers might find offensive/objectionable, rather than just upsetting.

    Tim the Enchanter

  6. #6
    Rhi for HP
    I agree that it can be a big spoiler to have to put "Suicide" or "Character death" at the top of your story (it was for me--that was the plot twist!), but I think also that it's necessary. People rate stories higher for different reasons, and without the warnings at the top you don't know if you're reading a Professors featuring sexual situations, heavy swearing, or somebody getting their hand whacked off. It's nice to let a reader know what they're getting into before they're shocked. As to whether a warning is for something a reader might find objectionable, that's a very subjective thing. Some people flush at profanity; others glide through grisly battle scenes without batting an eyelash-- so how could we define what are "lesser" ratings? You can only make your writing good enough to keep the reader interested to see how you set up the plot twist, even when they know it's coming.

    All that said, I think a "Murder" warning would be valid, as in my mind there's a big difference between a character dying of natural causes vs. homicide, and also "Violence" can be so much less than killing. Yeah, I would say that even just a muttered "Avada Kedavra" would merit a Murder warning, if one existed.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhi for HP
    All that said, I think a "Murder" warning would be valid, as in my mind there's a big difference between a character dying of natural causes vs. homicide, and also "Violence" can be so much less than killing. Yeah, I would say that even just a muttered "Avada Kedavra" would merit a Murder warning, if one existed.
    I'm trying to imagine someone checking out a story and saying, "Okay, I don't mind reading about Character Death and Violence, but I don't want to see any Murder," and failing.

  8. #8
    Okay. We've all read Harry Potter, the entire series, right?

    Harry Potter contains plenty of violence and murder, and there are no "Warnings" on the book cover. Warnings in fan-fic are already providing a lot more detail than you'd get from a book. On top of that, if we're reading fan-fic for a fandom that uses murder and violence as a foundation for the plot, it seems a bit ridiculous to have to warn for it in the fic.

    I get the violence warning. Because there's references to violence, and there's graphic depictions of violence. And a graphic murder can be warned for as graphic or disturbing imagery/events, by the author in the summary if they feel it necessary. But if readers put up with the murders of James, Lily, Cedric, Sirius, and so on, it strikes me as odd that they wouldn't be able to deal with a murder in a fan-fic.

    I don't mean to be insensitive, but I don't think warnings should outline every possibly offensive or sensitive issue in a fic. It does, as others have said before me, give the plot away. Warnings for general content, such as sexual situations, violence and language, is one thing - especially if it's content not present in the HP series itself - but I personally think we're getting a bit picky by wanting to require warnings for specific subject matter.

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