Zoe Odessa

Zoe Odessa

Writer, reader, avid Binchtopia listener. Based in Sydney where I spend my days suffering through late stage capitalism & basing important decisions on my horoscope.

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    Beyond Gratuitous Sadness: Unmasking Trauma Porn in Film and Literature

    Discuss how to discern genuine quality from exploitative storytelling. Gratuitous sadness in movies and books is a contentious issue, with some works blurring the line between genuine emotion and exploitative storytelling. To determine if a movie or book is truly good or just trauma porn, readers and viewers can look for key indicators. Examining the intent behind the portrayal of sadness, evaluating the depth and complexity of character development, and considering the impact on the audience’s emotional well-being are crucial factors to consider. For example, novels like "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara and the 2023 movie "Close" by Lukas Dhont, have sparked debates on the fine line between authentic emotional storytelling and gratuitous trauma exploitation. Understanding these nuances can help discern between quality storytelling and sensationalized trauma porn.

    • I think how you define "genuine quality" and "truly good" should either be elaborated on; or, the effects of gratuitous sadness should be judged according to a less subjective measure than goodness and quality, for example, by authenticity – Yusra Usmani 1 year ago
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    • A good place to look for uses of 'trauma porn' is within the BooTok world, particularly when it comes to the dark romance genre. An example of this is 'Haunting Adeline' which exploits conspiracy theories, sexual assault and stalking. This book is on the USA Today Bestsellers list and only moving up the ranks. It is definitely an example of exploitative storytelling. – morgantracy 7 months ago
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    Latest Comments

    Zoe Odessa

    I really loved this article! You so articulately summarised and personalised the differing aspects of self judgement we feel as writers, and also managed to suggest ways to incorporate these positively into our writing process. I found this piece super helpful 🙂

    A Short Guide to a Writer's Imaginary Critics
    Zoe Odessa

    Fantastic article! I think this really speaks to the overwhelming pressure writers can feel, but offers a way to break the cycle of procrastination that stumps so many of us. I’m keen to give NaNoWrimo a go after reading this!

    NaNoWriMo and the Art of Eating the Elephant
    Zoe Odessa

    Absolutely incredible writing! This piece is so well constructed and I love love love how you brought those main points through the whole article and tied it together at the end – really succinct and well thought out. I found it really informative – I’m not a gamer at all and have only experienced the games you mentioned through watching my boyfriend play them, but I could definitely relate to the points you made, especially the ideas of completionism vs promise and reward. You made the content here very accessible to someone without a lot of industry knowledge, which I really appreciated! Amazing job 🙂

    The Compulsive Indulgence of Open-World Games