|Type:||How To, Meta, Reviews|
|Scope:||Writing advice and meta on the subject of torture; ethics in writing fiction; reviews of media.|
|URL:||scripttorture on tumblr|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Script Torture: Torture For Writers is a blog that provides writing advice on how to write torture realistically (even in fantasy or futuristic settings) and without torture apologia. The blog frequently gives advice to fanfiction writers and reviews fannish media and provides an interesting case study for how origfic and fanfic communities interact on tumblr.
The blog does not make moral judgements about what fiction one should enjoy, but does strongly encourage writers to check their works for torture apologia.
"Trigger warning: this entire blog is a trigger warning for torture, abuse, human rights violations, racism, sexism, homophobia, ablism and genocide. Read at your own peril."
"The position of this blog is that torture is wrong.
Torture is never justified. Torture is never acceptable. The purpose of this blog is to help writers (of both original and fan works) write torture and its after effects in a more realistic way, hopefully avoiding tropes that have no basis in reality. I’m not going to judge you for what you put your characters through or the opinions of your characters. This blog is for fictional situations. I am not (let’s make this clear) NOT a medical professional, psychiatrist or psychologist (they’d be ScriptMedic and ScriptShrink). I may quote medical opinion but I can’t give medical advice.Don’t sue me. Please."
Please don’t ask me for personal, real life advice or support.
I am not an expert in a specific area of the field and I wouldn’t be able to testify on torture in court. I could give a reasonably advanced class. There are people who could testify in court but they’re often scattered across a wide variety of professions and backgrounds. The most common one I can think of in the West would be the people who tackle the most extreme forms of child abuse and slavery. We’re unlikely to get a blog from one of these experts because it’s (unsurprisingly) extremely stressful and emotionally draining just going in to work. Anecdotally (interviews with the BBC) people in these professions have reported persistent low mood, mood swings, emotional numbness, depression, aggression, inability to relate to friends and loved ones, insomnia and hypervigilance as a result of their jobs. I do know a fair bit about torture in a broad sense. I can talk about methods that were used in a variety of countries. I can talk about history and the modern day. I’m familiar with torture practices in Europe, the US, parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa during the modern era and practices throughout the British Empire. I’m also familiar with some of the historical practices in Medieval Europe, the Caribbean and West Africa and Ancient Greece and Rome. I can also talk about MRI scans and psychological studies on victims and torturers. If I don’t know something in detail I can probably point you towards a decent place to start your own research.
I would advise anyone researching torture to treat the information they’re handling as toxic. This is affecting. It should be. Try to work out your limits and don’t immerse yourself in the subject for too long. It can impact your health. Once again because it bears repeating, this blog is writing advice and I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Please DO NOT DO ANYTHING DESCRIBED HERE IN REAL LIFE. This blog expresses my views not those of any organisation, though I may quote other people.
Torture in Fiction
Script Torture has a series where they review works of fiction for their depiction of torture, with a focus on "presence of any apologist arguments, stereotypes and the narrative treatment of victims and torturers." Some of the reviews are for media with significant fandoms and circulate as meta beyond the scope of writing advice.
Some particularly fannish media reviewed:
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- The Defenders (Netflix TV series)
- Doctor Who season 9, Heaven Sent
- The Dragon Prince
- The Expanse
- Iron Man
- Persona 5
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Paradise
- Star Trek: The Next Generation, Chain of Command
Fanfic Related Questions
A fair amount of the questions scripttorture has answered for fan writers focus on the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, with one fan asking for advice on their Mafia AU and another about Finn and brainwashing.
- Disclaimer. Archived on the Wayback Machine.
- Torture in Fiction, accesssed June 20, 2020. Archived here on July 5, 2019.
- Script Torture, replying to "Star Wars AU anon! Thanks for letting me know! Basically, my questions were: How can I characterize Rey’s deskilling/mental health issues in a mafia setting if she goes on a trip with Finn?", Nov 26, 2018.
- Script Torture, reply to "Okay so, mental conditioning does not work? But how do I work around this or fix it when writing Star Wars fics?". May 13, 2020. Archived here on Jan 14, 2020.