Okay, the title is dumb, but let me elaborate.

When it comes to scenes in books or movies, show me a character's family, or part of their family getting killed and you've successfully immobilized me. Like show me THAT scene from Vuk (you'll find it as The Little Fox in Wikipedia) and if you're lucky, I won't be able to function as a human being for an entire day.

I'm talking like, we went to [REDACTED] once while the immobilization effect was chipping my sanity points away. Going there in the first place was my idea, but the moment we arrived I just wanted to go home, lay down, and sleep... for a long time.

I don't know why, but they overstimulate my empathy beyond reasonable measure. I guess my imagination is just too vivid on how horrifying dying, or seeing your loved ones die, must be.

Killing off someone's family members as a plot point, or even a background thing, is something I don't want to be present in any of my settings. If it is present, it will only be in an alternate timeline that was utterly erased, yet its memories manage to leak into the new one.

But it would make my setting seem very trope-y, like a cartoon that has to follow the Hays Code, except here it's enforced by the author himself.

I also don't want to build this into the setting the way I described, because creating a resetting mechanism that can't be abused is a pain.

Sooo... is it okay to put such constraints on my setting and plot? Is there a precedent of decent authors doing that?

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    IMO if you don't want to write it, just don't write it. You are the creator and you have all the power. Do what makes the story better and makes you happy :)
    – Sciborg
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 21:57
  • 1
    I think you might get more answers here if you shifted the question from "Is this OK?" (because the answer will almost always be yes) to "HOW can I make it feel less immature" (Assuming of course, that is what you'd like to know). Also some more details about the type of story may help. In my opinion, you seem to have a really humorous way of writing, and if that translates into your work, that alone might be enough to keep the maturity up. Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


It's your story. There are plenty of great stories that have no murder, no torture, no natural disasters. Romances, for example, get their conflict from far milder sources. A story of a great exploration or quest doesn't need to involve actual killing by whatever forces the hero or heroine strives to overcome. A person can grow and improve while working in an office job and never facing physical danger. A leader, doctor, teacher, or activist can change the world without ever using or facing a weapon.

You're worried it might look like a trope or a deliberate sanitizing? Well, don't write a story that would normally have horrific violence but you're leaving it out. Let someone else write about the leader of a criminal gang who deals drugs and orders murders, or a soldier haunted by all the war crimes he witnessed or committed, or a bank teller who can't get over the violent robbery that happened while they were working in the bank. Write something happy and cheerful, something inspirational, something fun and joyful. Write about growth, about winning metaphorical battles not real ones, about helping others and making the world better. Those can be great stories with no death or violence at all.


Whatever you feel okay with! If you don´t want to write scenes you´re uncomfortable with making, then don´t! You are the writer my friend, you make what happens, you are in control. As long as you are happy with yourself and happy with what you´re writing, that is all that matters!

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