Good fiction and film requires conflict. And usually when we’re talking about genre, that conflict often includes violence and some amount of blood. How you depict gore in your work is all about managing expectations and tone. You can write something with virtually zero gore and still end up scaring more people than the bloodbath horror story. You can even use blood and gore for laughs, if you like. But there exists a strange, unspoken agreement with an audience that, once you’ve established tone, it can be shocking and unpleasant to disrupt that tone with new extremes of violence. Using that shock as a way to jolt the audience is all well and good, but it’s important that you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, the horrific headshot in a goofy adventure tale may come across as a tad unpleasant.
I have a new article up at Scriptophobic about using blood & gore in your writing while keeping in mind tone and audience expectations, drawing examples from the suggestive violence of a Steven Spielberg blockbuster to the gorefest of a Nick Cutter novel. Check it out!
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of fiction and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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