Part of my pocket novel workshop deals with the morality of pocket novel world (and there'll be a Pocketeers' post coming up from me about that in the future). I've been urging caution, on all things from sex to drunkeness to smoking. I haven't ruled them out altogether. I've just urged subtlety.
But one of my participants has told me that recently she read some pocket novels where one hero was a recovering alcoholic, another hero smoked, and a heroine complained that she had trouble getting 'laid'.
I can understand that the recovering alcoholic might work in the context of the tortured hero, and my latest PN is set in a pub (and the PF editor knows that but still wants to see the rest). But I am surprised to find a slang term like 'laid' in a My Weekly Pocket Novel, especially as we're advised to be subtle about sex scenes. In case the author is reading, I'm not judging her harshly in any way. I write erotica which uses much stronger language, so am in no position to judge. I'm just discussing this in terms of what MW have allowed in the past compared to what the editor seems to be allowing now.
I obviously need to read some of the latest to see if there is a shift in style and tone, but has anyone else noticed anything in the latest novellas that at one time we might have considered taboo? And if so, do you think that this might be because they realise that to survive they're going to have to appeal to a younger audience?