Trigger Warnings in Books

Via someone I follow on Twitter who is quite possibly mentally ill comes trigger-warnings in books:

I’m not sure what a reader is supposed to do here. Do they simply skip the chapters in question, in which case they are either missing something important or the chapters shouldn’t have been included in the first place? Or do they line up a row of multi-coloured prescription pills and brace for impact as the offending chapter nears? Perhaps they’d be better off reading something else altogether.

And 40 chapters in a book that size? Actually, I’ve checked Amazon and it’s 43 chapters in a book with 312 pages. A new chapter every 7 pages. Not surprising it comes with a warning.

My own book, which is currently with an agent who will hopefully point me towards a decent editor, will not come with any such warnings. Although I am quite certain it will piss a lot of people off, particularly women with sympathetic leanings towards deranged, third-wave feminism. As one author I know responded to criticism of his book:

“Oh, I don’t care if you liked it, hell I don’t even care if you read it. I just wanted you to buy it!”

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6 thoughts on “Trigger Warnings in Books

  1. @”“Oh, I don’t care if you liked it, hell I don’t even care if you read it. I just wanted you to buy it!”
    Not an attitude which will encourage others to buy it.

  2. The only trigger warning I am willing to entertain:

    This book contains scenes of violence, sexual depravity and general bad behaviour beyond the bounds of good taste.

    A clear recommendation!

  3. “Dissociative episode” = nothing to do with the story, and should have been left out.

    Also, why is that cute dog looking over the top at the book?

  4. “I’m not sure what a reader is supposed to do here.”

    Throw the book across the room, the harder the better.

  5. This is a trigger warning that I preceded an on line writing of mine. Should cover most bases, I think …

    This advice is guaranteed to contain some words, phrases or other crap that someone, somewhere will find offensive. If this MAY potentially refer to you, please ensure that you have sufficient tissues, comfort food of your choice and a blanky or favourite cuddly toy plus responsible adult to take charge before proceeding. May contain mathematics and/or difficult concepts. Ask the adult to remove your footwear (including socks) so you can count up to more than 10. Contact my lawyer if you want to sue.

    No animals, fluffy kittens, baby seals or other cute things were harmed in the writing of this article, though that kelpie is living on borrowed time, I can tell you and the bloody house elf that keeps hiding the fucking car keys is going to get a “Leather Enema” if it doesn’t stop. Guaranteed 100% recyclable. Dolphin friendly and non-allergenic. Contains only 100% natural bullshit.

    Advice void where prohibited by law. May cause drowsiness. Do not read while driving, operating heavy machinery or juggling chainsaws. Definitely contains nuts of one description or the other. Read all instructions before continuing.

    Subject to 6% California sales tax. Gratuities not included, service charge extra.

    Refers mainly to New Zealand but may apply to the rest of the world. Or there again may not.

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