Discussion "Urge to Kill... Rising..." -Violence in Fiction

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by TrakNar, Aug 20, 2013.

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  1. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    I agree with @Jedi_Lover. I think Obi-wan was wrong for leaving Anakin there, but nor would I endorse a mercy killing. It was much more in character for Obi-Wan to simply walk away than it would have been for him to kill a defenseless Anakin.
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  2. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    We see in RotS sometime after Obi-Wan leaves Mustafar that Anakin/Vader isn't unconscious on the lava bank. Anakin/Vader is using his cybernetic hand and arm to pull himself up the bank making noises of pain the whole way.

    Then we see Sidious arrive with two clones and Sidious declares "there he is" then "he is still alive". During this Anakin/Vader pushes himself up and flips onto his back.

    Obi-Wan could have decided in a Dark moment to leave Anakin/Vader to die of his injuries. He could have justified it. I mean the jerk said only a few moments ago that he had loved Anakin.
  3. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I think people could have stomached it better if Obi-Wan went to try to help Anakin, but Anakin attacks him again. Then I think most people would say, "Screw you. Go ahead and burn."
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  4. TrakNar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    "So uncivilized..." :p

    If one of my characters have a violent past, I will document that past in some detail, mainly touching upon the key moments that shaped their character, but none of those will ever see print. However, I need those to refer to, to remind myself of that character's motivations, and perhaps I will vaguely allude to their past in an offhand comment.

    That said, in regards to RP characters with shady and violent histories... Fine. Have them. But, those histories don't need to be made known to the rest of the campaign. Keep them for your own reference, vaguely allude to a small portion of it to justify your character's actions, but the bulk of those graphic memories don't need to be broadcast for no adequate reason.
  5. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Obi-Wan should have yelled. "You kriff'n killed younglings! You sleemo scumbag. I wouldn't piss on you to put out the fire burning your sorry behind!"

    I really would have liked to see that. Of course it may seen a little OOC.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Aug 22, 2013
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  6. moosemousse CR - FF:UK South

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 6
    Warren Ellis wrote an essay on why it's important to have violence in fiction: http://www.vulture.com/2013/08/warren-ellis-essay-why-we-need-violent-stories.html

    I have to agree with him on this. Violence does have its place in fiction and I think it's important that we don't exclude it. The world is a violent place and using fiction to understand it is important. It can also help us understand why it's wrong and the consequences of violence without anyone getting hurt. As well as this, we can learn what it would be like if the situation was reversed.

    Take violent video games, for example. I play them a lot and I'm no closer to killing anyone than I was when I first starting playing them nearly two decades ago. In fact, I would argue that they have helped me enormously. I used to lose my temper a lot when I was young, and then I found games and a way to let it out without anyone getting hurt.

    That said, I'm not a fan of violence for violence's sake. I do draw a line at random acts of violence. Like @TrakNar said, RP characters with violent pasts are fine, but airing their past with no relevance to the context isn't something that should be done. The death of Bruce Wayne's parents was his motivation to become Batman, so it's relevant to his story. Han Solo might have had a violent past but it's not really relevant other than that he was a smuggler. Knowing his past wouldn't affect the story at all, but with Batman it's kind of a focal point.
  7. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    @moosemousse And then that leaves an opening for a Han Solo backstory trilogy, which I thought that A. C. Crispin wrote quite well. It's full of violence and even a tortured childhood, but only the bits which are relevant to Han's subsequent story are ever commented upon.
    Last edited by Goodwood, Aug 23, 2013
  8. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    And Han and Chewie were on the prison ship Purge. There was a lot of violence in Blood Troopers. I'm a sucker for zombie stories.
  9. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    @Jedi_Lover Indeed it was a good story, I enjoyed the fact that Schreiber was able to add them in and yet make the story's outcome unpredictable, not to mention making their role sufficiently ambiguous as to be entertaining. And the title is Death Troopers.
    Last edited by Goodwood, Aug 23, 2013
  10. TrakNar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Schreiber did the right thing by putting Han and Chewie on the back burner, while all the action was focused on the characters who could be killed off with no consequence to the greater canon. Those other characters, with whom we spent the most time, had more to lose. Their stakes were higher.

    The thing about violence in fiction is it ups the stakes. It adds drama. Instant tension, just add violence. Those characters with the most to lose are usually the targets of violence, because it ups the stakes in their lives and creates drama. And boy howdy, do we love us some drama!
  11. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    Some violence is needed to either move a plot, explain actions and motives.
  12. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I could see the need to have somebody to help the doctor and in a barge full of criminals it would be hard to put in an OC that the readers would trust.
    Death Trooper Spoiler (open)
    I'll tell you, when she opened up the doors of the solitary confinement and we didn't know who was inside I was a little worried. But when Han and Chewie came out I was relieved.
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  13. TrakNar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    In terms of the level of violence in Death Troopers, I can safely say that it was graphic. There was one scene that made me physically ill. However, for a horror novel, I would expect no less. If I open a horror book, I want to see a splatterpunk gore fest. I want to see a zombie lose three-quarters of its head in a spectacular explosion of blood, ichor, and chunks of Force-knows-what. This is a given for the genre.

    However, for your standard space opera, graphic violence in the same vein as splatterpunk is not what I expect to see. Tone it down a bit. Sure, a high-powered weapon will definitely leave a mark, and if a Trandoshan knocks someone off, they generally show it. That's fine. But, do we need the graphic depictions of the innards hitting the floor like so much Jell-O? At what point do you draw the line at how far you go in level of detail?

    We've all dabbled in the grotesque at some point, and many times, the genre would have dictated how we write our deplorable acts against our characters. But, even then, we need to show some restraint. In a swashbuckling tale of adventure, you don't need to be making your readers sick to their stomachs with explicit depictions of great green globs of greasy, grimy gopher guts.
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  14. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Isn't that a song? :D
  15. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    @TrakNar Just reading some of that began to kick in my gag reflex.

    @Goodwood just thinking about that song makes me want to vomit and I haven't eaten yet today.
  16. Rau_Fang Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2005
    star 2
    I've enjoyed reading through ya'lls limits and experiences.

    I suppose the only thing that I have (because our own limits are subjective and I imagine that the cross-section of our limits makes up the rules by which we abide) is that the only thing that bugs me about violence is that characters tend to under-react to violence or violent acts. I mean to say that everything in a story, every plot point and catalyst should to support character development and momentum/swing. I suppose that might not be always the case: what if you are paying homage or parodying shlock-violence films of the 70s? But in general I feel like violence overshadows character development.
  17. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I absolutely agree. It appears that the humans in a GFFA are of a heartier stock than Earth humans. Leia can watch her entire planet get blown up without having a psychotic break. The only person who snapped at any time was Han when Chewie died.

    In my fics the characters see psychiatrists a lot. lol!
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Aug 25, 2013
  18. TrakNar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Reaction may also stem from how that character is wired and what they've experienced, which generally stems from the author. An author who is generally sensitive to violence in media may have their characters react with a similar revulsion. An author who was desensitized to violence may have characters who react more nonchalantly when faced with violence.

    Also, people generally react differently to different types of violence. If the violence is happening to someone they don't know, they may not react at all. If it is happening to someone they know or themselves, they will react with varying degrees of intensity. For example, the sight of blood will generally illicit no response from me. However, the sight of my own blood, particularly if it is a large amount, will illicit shock, concern, and fear. Though, if I scratch open a bug bite and it oozes, it will mainly illicit annoyance and irritation, as now I'm inconvenienced by having to deal with the bleeding. Strangely, accidentally cutting my thumb open on a paper cutter only garnered a vague annoyance, despite my hand being covered in blood.

    Depending on how your characters are wired, they may react to violence in different ways, some of those ways rather surprising. Death could even bring out a proactive response, as the character works through their grief by participating in the burial/body disposal. And where would our hurt/comfort fics be without the character nursing our poor, tortured woobie back to health?
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  19. Kahara Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 4
    Violence in fiction is something I've been thinking more about lately as I'm writing. Normally, I don't think of myself as someone who likes violence. I mean, gore and destruction that seems too extreme turns me right off of many things. For example, I really like the concept of DC Comics' Green Lanterns, but the blood 'n guts in the last few years eventually grossed me out to the point that I haven't caught up to current storylines in quite a while.

    However, there's also no denying that a whopping majority of the fictional universes I like include some amount of violence. Star Wars is a pretty good example of this. Anyone can go through the original trilogy and pick out a number of things that are really quite horrifying if you think about them. The plot moves along so that you don't think on these things for too long, but it's definitely there.

    For me, there is a fine grey distinction between "adventure story violence" that isn't offputting and overdone ick that makes me avoid the work in the future. This is a pretty common theme that I see in others' comments as well. The way something is depicted makes all the difference much of the time. The two main things that will bother me are:

    1. Dwelling on the violence to the extent that it takes up more screen time than it really needs. If this goes on long enough, with lots of gory detail on the effects and a certain kind of perspective on the victim (which is something that you often know when you see it and can't really quantify), you kind of get the feeling that the writer is really getting some vicarious thrill out of the whole thing. This can be varying degrees of disturbing, from "somewhat" to "can't sleep, writers'll eat me."

    Running off on a tangent here, but in recent years I've seen kind of a theme in several places (most notably DC Comics and Star Wars, actually) where minor characters that are known to be "embarrassing" or somehow unworthy of existence get killed off and/or horribly maimed in various ways. It's extremely obvious, if you have seen some of the out-of-universe context, that they were selected for these gruesome ends for a reason and that there's no intention of giving the characters any dignity in their fate. That tends to bother me.

    2. Violence that may or may not be depicted in detail, but the handling of the aftermath rings false, in any number of ways. I have mixed feelings on this, because it's something I struggle with in my own work. Much of the time, it is guesswork to say what effects a major trauma is going to have. People are unique and respond to situations in different ways (like TrakNar mentions in the post above.) In science fiction, you also have the possible effects of beings with brain wiring different from anything you see in the real world. Are cyborgs, aliens, Sith, and Jedi all going to react the same? Much less the various combinations of all these?

    Often, there is this issue of ignoring what are often very difficult things versus wallowing in them to the extent that it starts to feel like a relative of my previous complaint. This is something that I feel like I know so easily when it's done wrong by someone else, but can't be sure of in my own work. I suspect that isn't an especially uncommon problem.
    Last edited by Kahara, Aug 25, 2013
  20. Mayla Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    2. Violence that may or may not be depicted in detail, but the handling of the aftermath rings false, in any number of ways.

    Definitely; I see this a lot--like one Coraline fic in which the (talking) cat dies horribly, and then a few paragraphs later the kids are talking about how excited they are to go to a party. Like... seeing an animal suffering to that degree, and dying in their arms, wouldn't be traumatic for a young person? Much less when that animal can talk and reason on a human level?

    That's one of the things I liked about 80's horror, like the Halloween(?) movies... because the sequels show that there is actual aftermath. It isn't just "happily ever after", the heroes go on and end up in psych wards and such because they have permanent scarring. A lot of more recent films I've seen, and fanfics, include gore and horrific themes for the sake of it, then drop it the second it becomes inconvenient. It's definitely hard to write realistic responses--particularly for an author who's ever experienced anything of the sort, and particularly because it's something I think a lot of authors don't want to research--but done well I think it really justifies whatever happened in the story.
  21. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    Some things will also affect us differently in real life. If you were running through a battlefield you will see bodies of both friends and enemies scattered everywhere in different conditions whether it's more or less intact or in pieces. That will follow us in our waking and sleeping moments.

    Luke could be haunted by the smell of his guardians charred skeletons and the smell of burning flesh and/or bone might make those memories surface.

    They do imply that both Light Sid and Dark Side Users can sense pain, fear and death but those that are Light they seem to find those sensations repulsive on different levels. Those that are Dark seem to enjoy these sensations and open themselves to them. But then Dark Siders seem to enjoy causing pain and like it when it is them that is inflicting said pain.
  22. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    That is true. I once was driving down a winding road when I came upon a horrible multi-car accident. I stopped because I saw my best friend's car there. It didn't look damaged but he was nowhere to be seen. I walked past a body in a puddle of blood and was relieved it wasn't my friend. I was screaming my friend's name. It turned out he stopped to see if there were any survivors. One of the cars went into a ditch. When my friend came back out of the ditch. I was relieved. The dead bodies meant nothing to me. I was focused on my friend. The cops got there seconds later and we were told to move our vehicles. I never thought much of it, but when my best friend died in a car accident years later it devastated me. So people can see blood and gore, but if they are not focusing on it, it can have little affect. I think if I was the first person on the scene it would have been horrifying for me.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Aug 26, 2013
  23. TrakNar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Emergencies can affect people in different ways. My brother's wife had a diabetic emergency one night and my brother was freaking out, not knowing what to do. I walked in and calmly called emergency services, then went about getting peanut butter and orange juice as instructed. It wasn't as if I didn't know my own sister-in-law, or I lacked concern, it's just I maintained a clear head because someone had to do so. Generally, in emergencies like that, I maintain a clear presence of mind and go through the motions and speak to emergency personnel in a robotic monotone. It's simply how my brain is wired.

    Depending on who was affected by the emergency, it's usually some time afterward when everything sinks in, or it never does. I simply go about the rest of my day, because I can't put everything on pause. In many cases, putting one's life on hold because of one emergency is unrealistic. Life won't wait. Thus, for a character to go from dealing with an emergency with clinical detachment, to going about their lives without a second thought is a realistic behavior. It's simply how they're wired. But, for all the characters to act like that? That's not realistic in any way, shape, or form. You're bound to have at least one character fall apart either during the emergency, or soon afterward.
  24. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    I myself have had my share of brushes with danger or, more accurately, instances when the old flight-or-fight response has kicked in. And in those cases I have found, much to my surprise, that the situation is handled calmly and with a cool head, so that things don't devolve into something worse. Or barring that, I've been able to keep level-headed enough to know what needed to be done once the immediate danger was over. Yes, at least one of those instances could've been handled a bit more efficiently, but given the results, I've got no regrets whatsoever.

    It's funny, really, that while I consider myself a pacifist in general (I don't go looking for trouble—the old aphorism of trouble finding me is much more apt), I have been ready on at least one occasion to take the butt of an (admittedly quite sturdy and heavy) Airsoft rifle to a potential intruder's solar plexus and/or cranium if it meant keeping another safe. Thinking about it later, I don't feel any particularly strong feelings about that, it's just the way things were and worrying about the circumstances and the what-ifs won't accomplish anything. Fortunately for me I've never had such things blow up in my face...knock on wood.
  25. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    True, and peoples' reactions to things can trigger responses as well.

    One day as a small child, I was between the ages 3-4, one of my older sisters and I were in a shed where we lived that had a tarp covering the opening. There was an old bed frame that had a built in box spring near the tarp which I chose to sit on after being told not to.somehow our older brother got up high enough to push a large old used tin can, the kind you see at the store for buying in bulk, through the gap between the roof and the tarp. the can hit me on the head. The sister with me left to yell at this brother and I followed after her. My older siblings were grouped a short way from where I was standing and for a reason I don't remember I placed my hands on top of my head and then held them in front of my face. I definitely had blood down to at least the first joint from the top on my fingers and other parts of my palms. At that point my older siblings yelled that I was bleeding and raced off to tell our parents what had happened. I don't remember being afraid at the sight of the blood on my hands, I doubt I knew what it was, but I became upset at my siblings reactions.

    I do remember being pleased the next day when I saw that the tin can had been flattened.
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