1. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Violence In Books?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Declan, Jun 5, 2011.

    I don't know how many people are familiar with Bret Easton-Ellis, William Burroughs, J.G Ballard and such, but how do people feel about explicitly violent or uncomfortable scenes in books? Provided they have a point, of course.
     
  2. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Well, something to keep in mind is that controversy, in many ways, is actually very good for a book. Why? It gives it attention in many cases it wouldn't have otherwise, causing it to skyrocket in popularity.

    But anyway, if you want my honest opinion on these scenes, I don't mind them, and can enjoy them, sort of, provided they serve a purpose in literature. Sex and violence can be amazing story telling tools, albeit ones that can be very difficult to properly utilize. I can think of many stories where the controversial elements ended up destroying the story because the writer focused on them for just shock value. Not only is this bad storytelling, but fails to see why these elements are shocking. Violence is shocking because of the characters it happens to, the same goes for sex. That's storytelling 101 for you.
     
  3. Greendog
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    Greendog Member

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    I don't see what's wrong with having violence in a story. It can really enhance the mood to be explicit sometimes.
     
  4. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    It's something that I am trying to introduce into my own writing, but the reaction to scenes of these nature fascinate me, so it's interesting to see people's reactions.
    An example of the popularity aspect in action is Palahniuk's Novel 'Snuff' being possibly band in Turkey- there is something about 'banned' books that just makes you want to read them.
    But most importantly I agree that they are good for making a point. I always use them satirically or ironically, to make a statement about something in society. It's such a profound way of expression.
     
  5. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    I quite like violent stories :) Probably why I'm enjoying Joe Abercrombie so much at the moment!
     
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  6. Malo Beto
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    Malo Beto Member

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    If it's obvious that the author is trying to 'tone their story down' for whatever reason I'll probably stop reading. As long as you're writing to adults I don't see why sex and violence should be a problem. I want to see whatever the pov character see's unless there's a good reason I shouldn't
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    So far as I'm concerned, humanity is an extremely violent species. It's in our nature to be violent and, to some degree, to enjoy violence. I enjoy the idea of violence; not necessarily physical, but even standing over someone or shouting is violent when you think about it.

    Violence can be a beautiful thing. It's why I eat meat and play with knives. Guns are too quick.
     
  8. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, if the violence is relevant to the story, then the only problem would be a personal one.
     
  9. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as it feels logical and it doesn't seem out of place then I've come to expect something shocking in books. I read a book once solely based on it's repulsive opening line because so many people had told me not to read that particular book (Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami) as they had been turned off by page one. Although there was too much description and some under-developed characters my real complaint about the novel was that it took me five months (and countless bookshops) to track down a copy offline. :rolleyes: The violent and disgusting scenes were the highlights which kept me reading on.

    It's down to personal tastes. I deliberately seek out books that are meant to make my stomach turn.
     
  10. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    Try A Song of Ice and Fire. Just finished the first book. I loved it, yet hated it so damn much. So many characters dying needlessly...

    /offtopic
     
  11. jo3bo
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    jo3bo Member

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    I have nothing against violence in books and it can be extremely enhancing. All I would say is that: if you're thinking about putting extreme violence into a novel, you have to do it very well or it will seem crass and needless. Violent situations will also require you to, in depth, think about your characters and how they would react. I find that violence in novels often doesn't work if I don't feel the characters are responding realistically.
     
  12. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A Song of Ice and Fire definitely has lots of violence and killing. It only gets more brutal as the series goes on.

    Personally i don't see anything wrong with violence in fiction. I enjoy it and I don't have a problem with writing it. But as much as I don't mind the occasional action flick where stuff blows up just because it can, the violence should be there for a reason and a purpose.

    Make sense?

    Good. Now explain it to me? :confused:
    (just kidding. I am tired and I feel like everything I write makes no sense. Though there might be some truth behind that feeling... lol)
     
  13. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    If we couldn't be violent, then a lot of stories would lose their punch. Promoting unnecessary violence against innocence in a story might not be advisable, but antagonists are often violent, especially in stories dealing with violent criminals.

    My crooks are pretty violent, especially one. In hindsight, I realize quite a bit was actually kept offscreen but there's some pretty gruesome scenes in it too. It's necessary to the story, IMO.
     
  14. Enerzeal
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    Enerzeal Member

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    Go where the book needs to go I say, and the more realistic it is the easier it is to associate with.

    An argument between two people, when it's over something especially important generally involves significant language. A fight with swords or a knife isn't clean. Humans will pull out all the stops to live. Fight, kick, scream, claw, bite, you name it, we are capable of it when it comes to the crunch.
     
  15. wallomrslug
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    wallomrslug Member

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    Violence is often essential to make particular scenes effective or memorable.
    You should feel, as a writer, the freedom to take the story in a way which you choose. if your story heads into dark territory, that is something to exploit, not avoid, in my opinion.
    It can be hardhitting and uncomfortable sometimes to read violent scenes, but you can guarantee that the more vivid your scenes, the more likely they will stay in the reader's mind.

    However, to echo the points of others, the violence should always have a point. Controversy for controversy sake is so easy to spot and very off putting for me as a reader.
     
  16. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    I write very adult novels. They almost always have some violence and sex. At the very least one or the other of these. Because of this, I can not post my stories on this web-site or anywhere else (if I wanted to) because there's always rules on EVERY SINGLE web-site that allows you to post stories against my writing. I've yet to even find ONE without these rules. And a few publishing places hate my stuff too. I don't think that it's very controversial at all, but people are very scared of it.
     
  17. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I think if it fits the story, it's good. I've never had a problem with violent scenes in books and when used correctly, they make the story more real-feeling.
     
  18. GraceCousins
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    GraceCousins Member

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    Another thing with including violence (and sex) in stories is that the scene has to fit the tone of the rest of the book. No matter how vital it is to the plot, no matter how well it's written and incorporated, if the book as a whole is rather mild and peaceful and then all of a sudden a characters gets eviscerated and there's blood everywhere or a wild sex scene, it's going to stand out like a sore thumb.
     
  19. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Such jarring shifts can actually work quite well, as the sub genre of horror knee jerk theme proves, but that's different.
     
  20. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    The main project I'm working on centers on violence. In fact, most of my projects have at least a handful of fight scenes or bloody murders. I think it's important to force the reader to take a look at how savage we human beings are. As for uncomfortable scenes, I think that if you don't make the reader uncomfortable when making them face something like rape, murder, or pedophilia then you're not sending the intended message properly.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as a writing mentor, i have a strict policy of not helping anyone whose work has any violent content whatsoever... my reason being that too much of the real thing goes on in our world to justify using violence to entertain, thus tacitly making it appear that it's unavoidable, when humankind's free will is proof that it's not...

    this is not intended to kick off a debate... you asked our opinions and that's mine... period... i won't take part in any arguments, but if anyone wants to ask me about my pov on the subject, they're welcome to do so by email [not pm, since i hate the pesky things]...

    love and hugs, maia
     

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