Back in 2012, I attended the London Book Fair. Two authors hit on a sensitive subject: violence. Anthony Horowitz and Patrick Ness write young adult fiction. And both had drastic thoughts about how to craft violent scenes.
Patrick Ness mentioned that he liked to ask people to participate in a writing exercise. He encouraged the participants to write a brutal scene that involved a person they cared about. He believes that all violence in a novel should make the reader feel uncomfortable. Ness continued by declaring that every single person who had been tortured or worse in life more than likely was loved by at least one person. His solution is to remember this, while staying true to the story. His logic is, if a writer stayed true to the story, there would be the right amount of violence. If an author decided to embellish the cruelty, the reader would sense this and would know that it didn’t belong.
Anthony Horowitz stated that he had no issues about having violence in his books. He elaborated by stating that his fantasy works were already removed from reality and that he liked to handle the subject with a sense of humor. He said, “Violence has to have a smile.” This is an interesting idea. Before you start shouting, he later went back to the subject and explained that he didn’t take brutality lightly, but that his version was separated from reality.
What’s your take? Is there a right way or a wrong way to include violence in books, movies, or art?
It’s the first of February and that means it’s time to announce the books up for grabs for my monthly giveaway. All of the books are fantastic and the authors are fab. Seriously you don’t want to miss out. It’s easy to enter. Just click on this link. Here are the books:
Looking For Love by Ashelyn Drake
Mike Hannigan is looking for love in all the wrong places. Maybe that’s because having his heart torn to shreds by who he thought was the perfect girl left some emotional scarring. But that’s about to change.
Summer Patterson isn’t like anyone Mike’s dated before, and he can’t help but be intrigued by her. Now if only he could keep his foot out of his mouth long enough to win her over. But when a secret involving Summer brings Mike’s past crashing back to the present, he’ll need some backup from his best friend and wingwoman, Mindy, to sort out the mess.
Will Mike find love before he leaves Timberland College for good?
*Looking For Love is part of the Campus Crush companion series. Books do not need to be read in order. This series is not suitable for younger readers.*
Elizabeth Morrison has ascended the ranks of her industry and now runs one of the most successful publishing companies in the US. But even after three decades, she has never been able to get past the devastating end of her relationship with Ruth Abramson. As she approaches her 30th college reunion, she must face the woman who long ago acceded to the demands of her famous father, regarded universally as a national hero, to marry a young man and start a family. It doesn’t make it any easier that Ruth, now a US District Court judge and divorced, is the class luncheon speaker.
As Elizabeth and Ruth face one another and attempt to reconcile their past, Elizabeth must carefully decide whether she is more distrustful of Ruth or of herself. Is she headed for another fall with this woman? Or does she want to get close again, so she can be the one to walk away?
When it comes to reuniting with the love of your life, it’s not always easy to know the difference between getting back together or just getting back.
Raised by an overly protective wulfkin pack, Daciana leaps at the chance to venture into the human world for her one-year independence ritual. But after someone steals the endangered bear cubs she’s been assigned to protect, she must locate them or lose her job and return home in disgrace. The sexy inspector on the case isn’t making this any easier. He knows nothing of her kind, and wulfkin rules forbid relationships with humans.
Newly divorced Inspector Connell Lonescu trusts no one but himself. He’s convinced relationships are a waste of time and thinks burying himself in work will ease the pain. Yet he’s attracted to the gorgeous and mysterious Daciana, even if there’s something slightly odd about her. Can Connell learn to trust the sexy but secretive woman?
Cloaked is the prequel to Cloaked in Fur, book 1 in The Wulfkin Legacy Series. Find out how Daciana and Connell fell in love and set in motion the paramount events that forever change their lives and those around them.
The Ghosts of Aquinnah by Julie Flanders
A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.
Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.
By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.
Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heart beat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.
She shakes her head.
For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.
Who is she? …
Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.
What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?
Hannah finds out.
But, it’s not at all what she expects …
Hannah unravels a century old murder.
Invoking Nonna by Sage Adderley
Maggie Sloan is a free-spirited teenager growing up in rural Georgia. Unlike her peers, Maggie is a witch and so is her mother. In addition to normal teenager rites of passage, she must learn about her family lineage and witchcraft. Her mother, Laura, keeps a tight lid on their family secrets – like the mysterious life and death of her grandmother who passed away before Maggie was born. Practicing the craft will test solid friendships and introduce Maggie to new realms. While seeking the truth about herself and her family, Maggie is faced with danger from churchgoing classmates who will stop at nothing to make sure she is found out. Laura and Maggie strengthen their bond through witchcraft and work together to overcome their enemies. Are their magical gifts enough to keep them safe?
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway. It’s really is easy to enter. Just click here.
To be Released March 2016
Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.
You can find Yolanda at:
Blog: Defending the Pen
Before I go I want to remind everyone that this Wednesday is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s IWSG time. Have writing insecurities? Join the group and share. It’ll make you feel better to know you aren’t alone.
See ya in two days folks.
Patrick Ness rocks!!!! I can’t even begin to describe how much I love his writing, but I can say that he always leaves me thinking, and to me that is a great author. I can’t wait to see what they do with A Monster Calls on the big screen. That book moved me so deeply, and I hope the movie will have as much of an impact. As far as violence goes, I have no issues with violence in books. Sometimes it is needed to make the story even more convincing. I mean let’s face it, it’s sad to say but there is a lot of violence in the world, and we can’t ignore it.
Hm, that is a difficult question. I think it depends on the scene. Some violence needs to make you feel uncomfortable. Great giveaway! I’ve read two of those books. 🙂
Violence if true to the story, whatever that may be, works fine for me. It can be “fun” violence with fantasy or real life like, just depends on what is needed, if it is needed too.
I also think it depend on the scene and the book. Some books need more violence hole others only need a smidge.
I have no useful advice for you other than I truly do admire those that can write, such an amazing talent to have. I wish you luck in all of your writing!
Difficult to write a murder mystery or thriller without some violence. I agree that if a writer stays true to the story, the violence will be at the right level.
That – the question of violence – is an interesting one, isn’t it? Especially, I think, when you’re writing for children. It’s also something I’m struggling with in my writing. How gruesome is too gruesome? And I suppose it’s most important for the violence to have a context, right? Particularly when you’re writing for children …
Violent scenes like romantic ones have to serve the story and they have to be consistent with the style and tone of the piece. Humor in violence? I’m not sure. I’m wondering if that idea stems from video games?
I enjoyed reading both their takes about violence. Having read some of Horowitz’s work, I can understand why he said what he did. In the end, however one writes violence, it should serve the story and ring true to it in its context.
Thanks so much for the great giveaway and including me:)
Hmmm I have problem with violence in stories as long as it’s true to the story and warranted, not just for shock value.
I think that like everything else, violent scenes need to be written well. If integral to the story, they should not be glossed over. I imagine it’d be very difficult to write a violent scene. I read one that made me nearly vomit – it was written incredibly well. My only issue with that is that the book was marketed as humorous and bizarre. I wish I’d been warned or informed of the explicit violence.
Thanks again for including me in this month’s giveaway, TB! And I agree with Ness about violence. I think it should always make people feel uncomfortable. I don’t mind violence in a story but get turned off if it just seems totally gratuitous.
Thanks for sharing about the book fair and the famous authors’ opinions. I don’t take violence on TV or in books too seriously. What would Raiders be without the all the derring do and violence Indy gets up to? (Remember the Bedouin sword-wielder Indy shoots? That was awesome!) On the other hand, torture porn (like “Saw”) aren’t my cup of tea, though I’ll watch almost any other horror movie. I’m too tired and stressed this week to think straight, but I promise to get your monthly giveaway in the following Fri post (Feb 12). Have an awesome week, TB! 🙂
Such an intriguing question and interesting to see the divergent views of it from the two authors. However, I get the feeling that their differing points are only about how to manage the portrayal not about the necessity of the action itself. At the core of the scene there always has to be some essential truth or purpose revealed through the violence depicted. Otherwise, no matter how it is handled (with fear or humor) it will become gratuitous and take the book on a completely different path.
Obviously my books don’t have any violence, but I did try a YA a couple of years ago that had some violence. My agent basically said it wasn’t strong enough to be marketable in the very competitive YA environment…and she was right. There’s just SO much good stuff out there, it’s best to leave the suspense writing to the experts…not to a middle grade writer who loves to watch Dateline and 48 Hours and thinks that would make her a good suspense writer!
Another great giveaway.
That’s one intense writing exercise. I don’t mind violence in books, although sometimes it makes me squirm.
What an interesting post! Violence in books always makes me squirm, but I like the advice of imagine it is someone you love because that seems like it would cause the writer to add violence in a way that has an emotional impact, without going over the top.
Amazing giveaway. I have almost all of these on my TBR list already. 🙂 Yeah!
Enjoyed reading about Patrick and Anthony’s views on violence! Very good food for thought. (The “violence has to have a smile” part really resonated with me.) Horror is my favorite genre, so…I think it’s safe to say that I’m okay with violence in books. LOL. The violence should move the story forward in some way, though. Adding that kind of thing in just for the sake of having it is a big turn-off.
My first thought is that violence needs to increase sympathy for the victim, but then I recall the humorous mysteries of Carl Hiassen in which the villain often receives his just deserts and you end up smiling.