1. Owen8
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    Owen8 Member

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    No Violence?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Owen8, Jun 2, 2012.

    I am in the early stages of a writing project, and even though it is sort of an adventure story, I don't want there to be violence in it. It just doesn't really seem to fit in with what I want to do. So I suppose that I wanted to see what people think of that. What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of not including violence in a story? How does no violence influence the plot? What are some good ways to create action and suspense without violence? My worry is readers might find the story boring.
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess I don't understand why you think a story must include violence. None of my stories have violence. Many of the stories I read don't include violence, and I don't find them boring. I've always heard that you should not include sex or violence gratuitously, and should only include them if they are necessary to the plot. So if your plot does not require violence, you would not need it at all.
    Suspense is created through wondering what will happen next or what a character will do. Not through anticipation of a violent scene.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story needs conflict, but it does not require violence. Conflict may be differing values, or competition, or even conflicting internal motivations.
     
  4. Owen8
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    Owen8 Member

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    I don't think stories need violence, either. My concern is that for the fantasy/adventure genre, will people be expecting it, and when it isn't there, will they be disappointed?
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't write for what people expect. Write what you find interesting. If it's a good story, people won't be disappointed. I don't perceive that there are a lot of people who read to enjoy descriptions of violence. They could get that in other ways.
    If you write for what people would expect, THAT would get boring.
     
  6. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    If by violence you mean only blood and gore then definitely you can have action and suspense without them. For example, distrust between members of an adventure party could bring tension and conflict. They don't have to kill each other, mutual suspicions will be enough. Suspense could be achieved in any scene (with or without violence) if you know how to write it, I mean suspense basically means withholding information from the readers and revealing it at an appropriate time... very little to do with violence. Having said all those things, I would also say that a little bit of violence won't hurt an adventure story. I am not talking about violence such as in the movie "Hostel" in which the theme itself is so violent that it gives me the creeps just thinking about it now, but there are other kinds of violence like in the movie "The Mummies" in which the acts of violence are almost lighthearted and they are there just to add some excitement to the plot/story.
     
  7. Loki Laufeyson
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    Loki Laufeyson New Member

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    Violence isn't a must in stories, many stories I read that don't have violence are just as good. Upon reflection, I've noticed that a majority of my stories that I think up or start to write, do include violence but that's just me.
    I think a good story is something that the writer is proud of, so if you don't want to put violence in your story, don't. It all depends on what you're comfortable with.
     
  8. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    It kind of depends on what you mean by violence. If you look at a movie like Star Wars (any of them), there's a lot of "action" in there, but I might not say there was violence. You have your light sabers, guns, etc. I don't really think it becomes violent unless you start graphically describing what is going on. I don't read too many fantasy stories, but I imagine with the ones that are aimed at a younger audience they tend to stay away from gritty descriptions of violence, even if they do have swords and guns and that. I know in the mystery genre, you have your gritty mysteries where they graphically describe a mutilated body... and then you have your "clean" mysteries that might take the same exact scene but be a bit more discrete about it.

    If you mean literally you don't want any swords or guns or anything, then that might be harder to do. But there are plenty of other genres that don't rely on those types of things.
     
  9. henry ni
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    henry ni New Member

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    Unless your plot is a vagabond breaking into dungeons to save a princess, where violence is implied, violence isn't required; although violence is an easy juncture for suspense, if your story is interesting enough and isn't too blunt, the you shouldn't feel a necessity to induce something to shed blood. I personally think a story should focus on extracting the correct emotions from the reader at the correct scenes: be realistic, be dynamic, and make sure to give your reader something to look forward to.
    If I were to just write: She killed him with a toothbrush, or 50 nuclear bombs destroyed the world. This wouldn't be suspenseful or interesting at all, because its far to plain and straight-forward. If I wrote: last 30 seconds of class, I prayed that the teacher wouldn't give out homework, 5 4 3 2 1... class has ended, feeling relieved I instinctively for the door, suddenly a voice "One last thing class...". Sounds a bit more suspenseful I think.
     
  10. mattattack007
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    Great books in history have very little to no violence in them, but they also have something to drive the story. People could find it slow-paced or boring, but if you have something to compensate, you should be alright.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The fantasy genre often focuses on literal battles between good and evil. Those stories tend to build to a climactic showdown against that embodiment of evil. Novels that don't follow that design may not be as popular for a significant part of the fantasy audience, but if you can take it out of that mold, you may find there is a fresh audience. For example you could base a novel on a growing rift among fantasy races, with the heroes finding a common goal that brings about a new alliance. In such a scenario., the threat of violence exists, but the story centers around defusing the threat rather than destroying an enemy.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    many of the all-time-greatest stories/books/movies contain no violence at all... there's your proof that it's not needed...
     
  13. mVd
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    mVd Member

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    If you would want to take an easier road, i would think using violence would benefit you over time. However it is not that necessary, if you feel it does not fit in with your story.
     
  14. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    Violence is definitely not needed. Conflict and resolution are all that are needed.
     
  15. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    While I agree that violence isn't necessary to a story, I am intrigued as to how one could write an fantasy quest type story without violence. If you're a skilled writer it could work well, but it could end up being really boring with no suspense, as in that environment violence and action is often the best form of excitement.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Discovery, wonder, the solution to a fascinating puzzle, a quest for a treasure (especially in competition with others who would put it to unworthy purposes), averting a disaster, ...

    You are only limited by your imagination.
     
  17. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    True enough, but those two I've bolded would tend to require some violence. Although I don't know if violence is the right term. More action. But if for example they were racing to the treasure against the villains, you'd expect some confrontation before the end. Now this doesn't have to be violent, but considering the atmosphere an adventure story is going to give off, it'd probably come across as odd if the two groups just talked things out.

    I wasn't saying violence was necessary by any means, I was just asking the OP what he was planning on using as a substitute for violence.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Violence is an injury inflicted upon another. None of the scenarios I described truly require violence, unless you consider it an injury that you seize the goal and thus deprive an opponent from achieving it. I think that would be an overzealous definition of violence.

    Many of my stories contain an element of violence. I'm not fanatical about removing every trace of violence. Two of my stories end with the complete destruction of an enemy who is attempting to destroy my unarmed protagonist. Another story centers on a suicide by handgun. But I don't use violence gratuitously in my writing, and many of my stories contain no violence at all.

    It's a choice you make with every story. And I wouldn't sneer at a final resolution in which antagonists talk it out.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I know this doesn't apply to the genre you want to write in, but remember that Edgar Allan Poe wrote many classic, gripping HORROR stories that, when you actually look at them, have no real violence in them at all. In some cases, such as "The Tell-Tale Heart," violence occurred before the beginning of the story, but it's remarkable, especially considering what passes for modern horror films these days, how horrifying Poe was able to make his stories essentially without violence.

    There are some great lessons in Poe. Check him out.
     

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