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Mel Comley said:
I've had a few complaints recently about the level of violence in my books and I'm afraid to say I made a conscious effort in my third book for it not to be so gruesome.

I think sometimes people forget what a violent world we live in. ;)
Actually, I think people WANT to forget what a violent world we live in and don't want to be reminded of it when they read.

But, as I always say, no matter what you do, some people will like it, some people will hate it, and some people will never get the joke.
 

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I've blogged a bit on this lately in various places (if you're interested, the links are on my website), but what it boils down to essentially in my opinion is that it's never too far if you are on the inside with the character living it - if the author is skilled enough to make you forget you are reading. But if you are on the outside looking in - if the author hasn't succeeded in making you a part of the scene and you are aware that you are reading - then it becomes gratuitous and that is too far.

It's the same with gore, sex and violence. Live it and it works. Read it and it doesn't. If that makes sense. It's entirely down to the skill of the author.

 
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swolf said:
No matter how much gore you put in, there are going to be people who think it's too much.

Just as there will be people who think there's not enough.

Some will think it has to be relevant to the story. Others will enjoy the gore for its own sake.

Even asking for opinions here is meaningless, because you're just getting those opinions from the people who happen to be here.

I've seen the same type of reactions to the amount of sex in my books. No matter how hard you try, you're not going to please everyone.

The best thing to do is write what you feel comfortable writing, and then attempt to communicate the level of gore in your blurb. (Understanding that even if you do, there will be those who read it anyway and will be offended.)

In other words, there WILL be people upset with what you write. Just get used to it.
Swolf has it on the nose (btw, have you got a haircut yet? That 60s hippie picture's getting a bit dated, son!).

For me, if I feel like vomiting, then the gore is too much (I confess I couldn't even finish Konrath's first book).

If I feel like masturbating, the sex is too much. (Swolf's the master of this stuff).

So, the stomach and the dick--great weathervanes for those genres. 8)
 

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Swearing, violence, sex, are simply tools that certain writers need to use - I know this because my debut novel, The Gamblers, uses all of them to one degree or another. I think if you use violence for decorative effect (for instance, to simply titillate readers) then it's likely to work against you. I tried to write the violence in such a way that it hurts, so the reader is on edge every time the possibility of violence occurs and that in itself creates tension. If violence and sex are used to further the story rather than as an end in themselves then chances are that most non-judgemental readers will realise and appreciate this.

Personally I have no problems with lashings of all three, so long as the author isn't revelling in them for their own sake.

Martin
http://thegamblersnovel.com
 

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Gore puts me off a book but I imagine for some readers it's part of the appeal. If I enjoyed writing or reading horror, for example, I may well like lots of blood. In other words, just keep in mind what audience your aiming for and write for them. If the wrong person gets hold of your book they may dislike it but that could just mean your book mistakenly found its way to the wrong audience. If that's the case I'd take another look at your book description to see if it gives enough indication what to expect.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
I don't believe there is such a thing as "too far." But there is such a thing as "lazy." Gore is easy. And because it is easy, I find it boring.
This.

I write romance, but I read horror (among other things). I'm at 17% in a book right now, and bored out of my mind. And actually a little angry at the author because I was promised that I would be frightened. Blood on the walls, entrails on the floor, lather, rinse, repeat.

Yawn. I'm 50 and I read the news. It's just not that easy to shock me.

I think the real problem tends to be not the actions and scenes described, but the pacing of the story. The one I'm reading now, has been knee deep in gore for pages and pages. There was no build, no characterisation, no highs, no lows. I'm ready to give up because I don't see it working towards a climax. The problem is not 'too much gore'. It's 'not enough of everything else.'
 

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Alan Ryker said:
My niece (5 at the time) was engaged in some dangerous acrobatics and was told, "How about you stop doing that?"

With a smile on her face, she replied, "How about I kill everybody?"

That is your new mantra.
AHAHAH! Now *that* is scary ;). Kids...

I agree that the gore level is whatever level gets the job done. I was holding back on some of the darker scenes in Legacy and my husband was trying to convince me to let loose, so we decided to do a writing exercise. My assignment? Write the worst thing I could think of in the moment.

That scene eventually became my prologue! :p Straight up cannibalism, y'alls. It made my mother want to vomit, but people say it draws them into the story, so it's doing exactly what it's supposed to.

Go for it!
 
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