Monday, August 2, 2010

OH GOD, I Didn't Need to Know That! (Awkward Writing 2)

Welcome back for the 2nd installment of my Awkward Writing series, where we will be discussing writing horror and anything else graphic.

As a reminder, anyone who comments on the series posts (previous or future) will be entered into a giveaway. The giveaway will be announced on the last series post. If you make multiple comments, you receive multiple entries. Max 5 entries via comments. But...

1) If you shout out the series (FB, Twitter, Blog, etc.), you get 1 entry. Please only 1 mention for the entire series. Please also supply the shout out link in your comment.

2) If you create a post linking back to my page, or one of the posts in the series, you receive 2 entries. Please supply the post link in your comment.

That is a total of 7 entries total you can have put in the pot.

What am I currently doing? Answer: blogging, sketching and debating an all-night write.

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So I think there is a great deal of over-dramatic gore writing out there. Some of it can be pulled off well, but what is too much? Gore writing comes in many forms: evisceration, limb hacking, bodily torture, etc. I'll also invite the topics of writing rape/sexual abuse situations into your pieces, but please comment with discretion. If you think you might be starting a comment war, it might be best to avoid it.

So, I enjoy my forms of gore. I like to see the bad guys really get gritty and show the fires of war at their best. When vikings pillage and people are staked and crucified, I can appreciate what it might have taken to write such a scene. However, have you seen bad gore writing? Have you seen obscene and overly abstract metaphors applied to the scene so you "get the most out of it."

I have seen such writing and it made me queasy. I didn't need to know the stench of bodies haunting a young girl who watched her village burn. That got to me. I needed some moderation. I did not want to read about bodily innards being on display in ritualistic manners, but I have. If applied correctly, the visual could be graphically stunning and blow your setting out of the water. But when done incorrectly, you find yourself shying away or even just laughing at it. I have had an experience of laughing at gore.

It can be tough and agonizing to write horror and graphically because you're wondering why you're able to think of such dark things. Do you have something wrong with you because you can visualize death in that manner? OF COURSE YOU DO! But no, it's a part of the creative process to want to experiment in something. There's nothing wrong with painting the walls red, but do so in the right circumstance and with as little humor as possible.

Question to the Cohorts: Have you experimented in gore and graphic writing? What has been the hardest part of that challenge?

Share and comment. Bye for now!



  1. I think all things in moderation, including moderation, is definitely the rule of thumb here. The visual cues are important, yes, but the story must trump all else. I think you're absolutely right in that a balance must be found, even in horror.

  2. Experimented with gore: Of course. Why write if you’re not going to try everything at least once. Yes, even the gut wrenching stuff. There isn’t much in the gore/graphic writing department that gets to me, aside from rape/sexual abuse. And yes, I’ve made an attempt, loathed every word of the final product, deleted it all and watched cartoons for the rest of the week after writing it. But at least I now know why, aside from the obvious reasons, I don’t like the act of illustrating the subject matter.

    My biggest challenges: Describing a scene from two POV’s and not boring the readers with a repetitive piece of exposition. Making sure not to over describe to the point of offending the reader and still induce a visceral reaction in them.

  3. As you know, I recently started delving into horror writing. Most of my previous work had some gritty moments, but was written from a light-hearted or sarcastic PoV where the gore could be put into a different perspective. In writing horror, there are moments where I disturb myself. I'm still working on finding a good balance of scary without melodrama.

    Added your contest to my sidebar at Scribbler to Scribe.

  4. I don't really write it, but it doesn't fit into my work so far. Mostly, if I need something gory, I imply it, talking about what might happen and letting the imagination take over from there, or showing an after-result, but not the actual gore in progress. Sometimes that can be more haunting if the reader allowed him/herself to go there beyond the story.

    There is definitely a fine line between well done and hysterical, and I find myself laughing more often than not, unfortunately. I can't watch horror movies at all because I think they're ridiculous. I have read books where I've enjoyed the scene, and perhaps I'm too critical, but they're hard to come by for me.

  5. I agree, moderation is the key. But you can't keep it short if the situation really warrants the gory description. I've read murder scenes where keeping the details to vague interfers with the emotional connection. Sometimes, you really want the reader to be abhorred.

    Personnally, I'm the bloody type. Don't give me a mideval fight scene and not splash blood and gore all over. But even I thought the blood scenes in the movie 300 were beastly overdone. Really turned me off from watching the movie.


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