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At the request of Furno, I have decided to make this blog talking about violence in stories, though it's mainly to explain why gore fests are not cool.


The Difference between Violence and Gratuitous Violence

With a series like the Ultra Series, which revolves around battles between good and evil, the presence of violence is inevitable. However, despite the rules here, this is not really against the rules, that because in art, violence comes in different levels. There is cartoon violence, or slapstick, mild violence, and then we get to gratuitous violence. Respectively, these levels of violence range from the cartoonish, to mundane, and peeks at the excessive. 'Excessive' is perhaps the key term there. The violence that often turns people off, is often that which is excessive. With our medium being the written text, there's not that much excuse for excessive violence. Things most grim can be written in ways that imply the level of gore, and/or damage, or keep them hidden and leave the situation to the reader's imagination.

Violence Does not Equal Maturity

I think an issue many writers is that they think if they add in swear words, adult situations and/or massive amounts of violence or gore, their work will be 'mature'. This is a fallacy, because maturity has little to do with these things. Take for example the Avatar series (Not the James Cameron one...) the first series, which was directly aimed at kids was highly enjoyable, and now as I am older I can look back and appreciate more as I understand the maturity my younger mind could not. The sequel series, the Legend of Korra...not so much... The best, and fastest way to know if violence is mature, is...

Does it serve a Purpose

Even massive amounts of gore can serve a purpose after all, all good writing employs emotional manipulation of the reader. The writer basically tells the reader, when to be sad, when to be upset, when to be happy for a character. They tell the reader when a moment is of triumph or defeat. Violence can also be a tool, all too often people just focus on the violence.

Case in a point, a field of corpses, or a massive battle. There are two ways one can focus on this image, this scene, one can either call attention to the blood, the gore, the twisted bodies, the broken cadavers of men and beast...or...they could focus on the tragedy of the massive loss of life. One way is just shock tactics, the other is mature, because it gives respect to the situation, and to the reader.

The real difference between violence and gratuitous violence is that the gratuitous version is that much beyond any deeper purpose than 'look at this.' A hero being inflicted with grievous wounds, can show their grit and determination. A villian being dealt the same thing, could be to show the same thing, or it could just because they deserve it. An average joe, well, that's probably just the writer being sadistic.

Another thing, you don't HAVE to illustrate violence, you can just skip it, especially of it's the sort you know people are not going to be comfortable with. It should be noted, readers can often sense when such scene aren't needed and can be skipped.

I have written a scene where a character was litterally having his gore cast across the multiverse, and his body reduced to nearly a blood pulp, yet that scene was there to emphasis how HATED that character was, and I did not go into intricate details about his injuries. I gave an general image, but the gore was not the point, nor really the focus, the focus was the emotion directed his way, pure hatred from bascially gods. Likewise, I feel I don't need to explain the menagerie of horrors birthed during the Dao Crises.

A final note, just because you may have a purpose for the violence in your head, doesn't mean you still need to illustrate/put focus on it, especially the gorey kind. Even if you think you're being mature, it doesn't matter if you cannot illustrate that in your writing