Thursday, August 25, 2011

Topic: "Violence In Literature; when is enough, enough?" My Guest Author, Kathleen McKenna.

Please join in the discussion, my guest today is Author, Kathleen McKenna.

“Violence on Literature, when is enough, enough?”

Violence in books or as I like to say there must be fifty ways to kill your character.

Why do we need violence in books? Isn’t there enough gratuitous violence in our day to day lives? Just yesterday I threatened an employee at the division of motor vehicles with a nail gun but I digress.

We don’t need violence in books, but we want it. Anyone who says different might be hard pressed to explain the moderate success of say Mr. King, Mr. Iles, Dennis Lehane and of course that gore queen Danielle Steele.

Personally speaking I write in three genres and use gratuitous violence in all three of them. Why? Well to begin with I’m not very good at this writing thing so without gratuitous sex and violence all I would have to fall back on are my story lines and since I very seldom have one of those things I have to throw my characters under the bus, or the chainsaw as the case may be.

Now personally I find if you can have your hero or heroine say decapitated by a rotting dead person during sex that’s a money shot. Still I must caution the prospective writer about the use of violence in their books because for one thing you need to keep it fresh and this requires creativity.

I feel creativity in the writing process ruins it so watch yourself when adding killing fields to your story.

For example two years ago I was writing a romantic comedy and as usually happens in this genre was forced to kill off nearly twenty characters during the writing of the book.

I ran out of ways to do it after one was cut to pieces by a shattering mirror and another had a live rat stuffed down her throat etc. It all started to become a tad repetitious and that’s never a good thing in any genre.

I was forced to put up a contest on face book asking for the sickest most vile death ideas imaginable. Fortunately I was able to use (as always) other people’s ideas and finish on a high note with my heroine being skinned alive while simultaneously enduring the indignity of being raped and sodomized by the ghost of Anton Lavey.

Forgive me I digress but I was getting to my point. Which is this; if a writer can throw enough sex and violence into their story then they need neither a viable plot nor much dialogue and that’s what I call a win win situation for everyone!

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