1. osu45d
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    osu45d Member

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    how violent is too violent?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by osu45d, Nov 30, 2013.

    In the book I'm writing I'm Starting to think that the content might be a little too brutal for the young adult market that I'm aiming for. The concern that I have is based around a number of chapters where I give a blow by blow description of a number of fights with teenagers fighting in a colloseum like arena against other teens(with wooden weapons) and against mutated animals(with real weapons) blood is siplled and bones are broken and some fights are described in the first person. Shortly after the protagonist is required to perform a public execution and does so but his gun contains a blank, the prisoners are then executed with swords except for the one that he is tasked to kill who escapes and will assist him at a later stage. Also one of the guards is executed soon afterwards. There will be others killed later on, some main characters and several grunts killed by the protagonist.

    In light of popular YA fiction do you think that it is likley to be popular. I may post a short excerpt if you would like​
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    with tv and movie scenes these days I think kids are immune to violence, most probably thrive on it
     
  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    It gets too violent when the reader decides to use the book as a weapon instead of reading material.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    How does the violence in your book compare to the violence in other YA books?
     
  5. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    Let's remember that The Hunger Games is a YA novel, and has killing, floggings, bombs, war, etc. I think as long as you do it well, there shouldn't be an issue.
     
  6. Laze
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    Laze Active Member

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    I think as long as it doesn't get absolutely ridiculous. I personally like a bit of gore in my fiction, it makes it that bit more realistic and adds more impact to scenes with conflict. But again, use it sparingly. If you add too much violence in the story the effects of it will wear off with the reader. Violence and gore in my opinion is just another story telling tool, I use it to emphasize certain conflicts to make them stand out—not every battle needs to have some character boiling the moisture in someone's eyes. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    I have to agree with Laze here in saying that eventually it wears off. There have been numerous YA fictions I've read that have way too much. No names mentioned, but in one particular story there was a fight around every corner. The entire book was centered around mass gore and didn't hold back an inch so I became bored really fast. I finished the book and didn't bother with the other two because the first one was boring in my opinion. I don't mind a prolonged conflict of violence, but I tend to get bored if that's all you give me every time I turn a page. I like to see more of my characters than just their brutal side. On that note, during the actual scenes of gore and what have you add as much as you feel is needed. Try to find a descent limit and stick with that. Vary it from scene to scene though so readers don't see a redundancy.
     
  8. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Well, the physical conflict in my story does get intense at times. And detailed, but i would not say outright gory. I have written snapped necks, shattered skulls, and jaws being ripped off as well as whatever a wolf would do when in battle.

    Example: The main villain ends up blaming someone else completely when you had expected earlier for him to blame the person in front of him. Then his minion rushes forward, evil cackle and all, and kills the guy before he can escape. The MC -the son and brother of the two villains, just hears the skull crack and closes his eyes before he can see much more than blood. But i do put in a description of the killer licking a drop of blood from his lip a little after.

    Still, every conflict actually has a good reason for it. So long as the said "violence" has a good reason and place in the story, i would not worry about it in this day and age. If it adds intensity to the story, use it. And use it well.
     
  9. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    If it's violence for the sake of violence it might be going OTT
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Know your audience. What is too violent for a school magazine distributed to high schools in Texas will be too bland for a periodical for a blood and guts horror market.

    That's the only meaningful answer to your question. There isn't a single, homogenous market, even under the YA umbrella.
     
  11. noah
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    noah New Member

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    i think there's a way to do it so that you can still target your audience and not be TOO violent, if you really work at it. Good luck
     
  12. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with @Tyler Danann - and to word more closely for what I think it is: writing about something for the sake of enjoying that something is simply pornography :)
     
  13. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Banned

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    What defines the graphic intensity of any story, violent, romantic, comical or whatever it may be, is the moral it intends to convey. If it's a story without morality, then it still has the moral value of being a glimpse of a downward spiraling humanity.

    It's unfortunate that we live in times when disrupted brain chemistry multiplied by parental mentoring, wrong for that particular chemistry, results in tragic violence. If what you have amounts to a textual version of a violent video game, then you are barking up the wrong occupational tree. It may as well be the basis for another violent game.

    If it's a story about the longer term effects upon humanity of constantly feeding the game and the ultimate repercussions, you might just have a YA winner. The problem you may encounter is that the largest slice of the high school/college age person rallies around the game and forbidden new form of mischief.

    A recent example on TV is "The Middle." The last child is a profoundly advanced kid who shuns the averages of the game mentality. Even sit-coms have a moral message to them.
     
  14. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    The violence aside, a 'blow-by-blow' description of repeated fights sounds like it will be a clunky read.
     
  15. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @Gallowglass, I think it depends on how that blow-by-blow -thing is done. If you're going for realism and you're writing a street fight (instead of, say, a boxing match), you can pull it off since real fights tend to last around 3 seconds or so, meaning there's not enough time for that many blows (or whatever moves are used).

    The reason why I enjoy detailed and well written and realistic descriptions of real fights is that, as a martial artist, I've actually learned from them. A good example is Geoff Thompson's autobiography, "Watch My Back." It had plenty of fights in it (duh, he was a bouncer in a rough neighborhood) and he even discussed the tactics / psychological side of the fights he ended up in.

    Personally I love it when I learn stuff from fiction (which makes Thompson's book a bad example in this sense, but you get the gist), be it about fighting, horseback riding, fencing, archery, napkin folding, or whatever, so one of my dreams is that one day a reader would say that they learned something from reading my stories.

    Of course, this is not to say that fight scenes should read like how-to -manuals because they shouldn't, but that doesn't mean you couldn't write a good fight scene and go into detail about what happens and, most of all, why.
     
  16. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Banned

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    @T.Trian

    I can appreciate that, being a martial artist trained by a Chinaman. "My main work" has the martial arts, albeit less than blow or kick by impact. At one point the MC kicks one of the naked, flying 'Locks in the jewels and brings him to the fetal position. Of course he swiftly finishes the 'Lock off with a plasma blast to the head...

    I like the comical side of teaching the poor little Eloi to fight with techniques like hitting them in the gut with a 2 x 4... Gotta get tough to fight those nasty Morlocks.
     

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