Well, yes, actually. If a character is joking all the time in a way that doesn't actually reveal interesting things about them, it gets really annoying. A scene feels cheap if it's designed to make you cry with pointless, unearned melodrama.MLove83 wrote:Great topic/question! I agree with those who said it should only be included if it adds something to the story. Then again, I think that's true of every scene. Filler of ANY kind makes for a very boring read.
I'm surprised how many people said, "If it can be left out, it should." Why?! Can you imagine making that same statement if we were discussing a humorous scene, or one which might make the reader cry??
ANY scene that can be taken out without affecting the story should be taken out.
I don't think the problem is necessarily* that sexual or violent material needs to be deleted more than other types. The problem is that some writers treat it like an exception to the rule that everything needs to contribute to the story. They think "fights are exciting, so I'll just toss in a bunch of fists flying around." That stuff should go.
But if the character's signature sex move or fighting tactic reveals something interesting about the character, world or situation, then sure, describe it in detail, the same way you'd include a detailed description of a meal, if the food revealed something interesting.
*I say necessarily because I do think that, if an author writes something that's likely to hurt, deeply upset or offend a significant portion of their audience, they have a duty to make it worth their while. Don't toss in a graphic, horrifying torture scene on page 50, with no warning that it's coming, unless you're prepared to use that scene to say something significant, something that leaves the reader thinking, "I'm glad I stuck that out."