Transgressive fiction is a genre of literature that explores taboo subjects and themes such as violence, sexuality, and substance abuse. It challenges societal norms and often features characters who act against established rules and expectations. Writing transgressive fiction can be a daunting task. As a transgressive writer, I often find it challenging to write stories that are transgressive or incorporate transgressive elements. Writing transgressive fiction can be a daunting task, as it requires the writer to confront their deepest fears and expose their vulnerabilities to the world. For instance, publishing my stories in Feminomaniacs was a difficult decision, but I chose to do it anyway. Similarly, working on my autobiography "Virginity for Sale" was an emotional journey that required me to reflect on my experiences as a woman growing up in Iran and I decided to never publish it. Even today, as I work on my current duology, I find it challenging to write about non-standard explicit sex scenes and other transgressive elements such as self harm or suicidal thoughts.
However, I believe that pushing the boundaries is essential to creating art that is truly meaningful and thought-provoking. That is why I choose to share my work with others and encourage them to do the same. For example, I am currently collaborating on an anthology called "Sokut," which explores a range of taboo subjects through creative essays. This has been the most challenging project I have undertaken so far, but I believe it will be a powerful and thought-provoking collection. As a transgressive writer, I know that I will face many challenges, but I also know that these challenges are necessary for creating work that truly resonates with readers. As a mentor and workshop facilitator, I encourage others to push their boundaries in their own writing. I believe that through this process, writers can develop their voice and create truly meaningful and thought-provoking work. Gathering all my thouhgts, experience and knowledge on writing and specifically this genre, I created a free ebook for aspiring writers or whomever interested in transgressive fiction and transgressive writing that you can download this guide book here.
I believe that with the right approach and mindset, anyone can create a captivating and thought-provoking work. In this article, we will explore some tips and strategies for writing transgressive fiction. Here's my top 7 tips on writing transgressive fiction:
1. Be authentic
Transgressive fiction often deals with dark and uncomfortable topics. It's important to write from an authentic place and not to shy away from the raw and gritty realities of life. Write what you know or research what you don't know thoroughly and don't be afraid to draw from your own experiences and emotions. Remember, Transgressive Fiction needs pure emotions. Because of that, there's no one-size-fits-all recipe for it. Focus on your emotions, research well and dare to share.
2. Push boundaries
Transgressive fiction is all about breaking rules and pushing boundaries. Don't be afraid to challenge societal norms and conventions in your writing. Think outside the box and explore topics that are taboo or controversial. Take risks and be bold in your writing. That said, topics that today may be taboo might not be taboo in the past or future. But remember, there's a code of ethics and morals to live a proper life and never harm another being by any means. So, that can be used to write. Consider Philip K. Dick. He never writes about what is directly count as taboo but the way he plays with ethical paradoxes is what makes his work transgressive.
3. Create complex characters
Transgressive fiction often features characters who are flawed, damaged, and morally ambiguous. Think what characters you can create that are multi-dimensional and complex yet they're by no means the heroes of the society and sometimes they're even the doomed ones. Give your characters a backstory and motivations that are realistic and believable for what they do. Not every protagonist in every book needs to be a hero for all, they just need to be the hero in their own story. That said, seriously avoid creating one-dimensional caricatures or stereotypes. For example think about what makes Hannibal interesting? Is he the good guy or the hero? Sure not but is he interesting? He does. What makes a cannibal such attractive? Is it the fact that they eat human meat or is it their thought process, the way they romanticize it, the way they justify it for themselves? The same goes for protagonists of books such as Lolita, American Psycho, Fight Club, etc.
4. Use vivid imagery
Transgressive fiction often relies on vivid and visceral imagery to convey its themes and messages. However in this period, everyone is worshipping censorship and surely this seems to put an end on transgressive fiction (it never will) but don't be afraid to be explicit in whatever you write. Use descriptive language to create a vivid and immersive experience for the reader. However, the goal of being such descriptive is to use sensory details to bring your scenes to life and make them feel real and create a sense of reality and connection to the reader. We don't do that for a mere shock purpose. Nothing should be aimless in writing. Your goal as a writer is to inspire, not shock.
5. Don't shy away from uncomfortable topics
Transgressive fiction often deals with uncomfortable and taboo topics such as violence, sex, and drug abuse. Don't shy away from these topics, but rather embrace them and explore them in a thoughtful and nuanced way. Use these topics to illuminate deeper truths about the human experience, behavior and thought process.
6. Experiment with structure and form
Transgressive fiction often plays with structure and form in interesting and unconventional ways and for this reason some times is overlapping with Postmodern Literature Characteristics. Don't be afraid to experiment with different narrative techniques and styles. Use fragmentation, nonlinear storytelling, and other techniques to create a unique and compelling reading experience. Be as surreal as you want. You're transgressing the norms and rules so as the creator and the writer you can be the transgressor and not just your protagonist.
7. Be aware of the potential consequences
Transgressive fiction can be a powerful tool for social commentary and exploring the human condition. However, it's important to be aware of the potential consequences of writing about controversial topics. Be prepared to face criticism, backlash, and even censorship. Make sure that your writing is thoughtful and responsible, and be willing to defend your work if necessary. Also, make sure you know what power you behold. You're writing to raise awareness on a certain topic not glorifying what common sense would reject. For example if you're writing from a perspective or about a rapist, pedophile, serial killer and so on, what message are you conveying. That what they're doing is cool and transgressive or what they do has consequences and should not be romanticize. Transgressive fiction no matter how extreme it can get, has its own values of 'raising awareness' about such issues from an interesting perspective.
So, to conclude I can say that writing transgressive fiction can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By being authentic, pushing boundaries, creating complex characters, using vivid imagery, exploring uncomfortable topics, experimenting with structure and form, and being aware of the potential consequences, you can create a work of art that challenges societal norms and provokes thought and discussion. If you're interested to learn more you don't forget to download my Free eBook "A guide to Transgressive Fiction" or join a mentorship program and work with me while writing your novel.