Monday, August 23, 2010

Gore

I cannot seem to stop myself. I write gore.

I don't intend to do it. I don't start out with a blank screen and think, "How gross can I get with this?" It just happens.

I'm typing along, a battle scene comes up and heads start flying. Eyes get gouged, limbs are severed and blood spurts with arterial regularity.

See? I just did it again.

Irony? I'm squeamish. I couldn't watch any of this stuff happen. If I saw it on screen, I'd have to turn away or get sick. Maybe both. I can't stomach (heh) the thought of doing any of the things my characters do. I would never eat a person's heart out, even if he did try to kill my dog. Well, maybe. Hmm.

The gore trips a lot of folks up, too. Perfectly nice people turn green and skip pages. You'd think that alone would make me stop writing it.

But I can't. I mean, if a fire-breathing dragon attacks a city full of flower-clad civilians, there's gonna be some gore. I would argue, there's going to be a lot of gore, and, yes, I seem to write it all down.

This is one of those things that got debated during the MLS contest. I'm afraid I don't remember the name of the entry, but it began with a battle scene involving demons and swords and cowering humans. Things got bloody, as I would expect when swords are involved.

TT: Is that why Lucas invented lightsabres? To get around the gore factor that might catapult Star Wars into the dreaded "R" realm? On the other hand, lightsabres are just cool, so maybe it was a two-for-one.

My biggest issue with the whole entry was it wasn't bloody enough. After a second read, I saw a few more demons going squish, but it was a bit clinical for a fight to the dismemberment. I was in the minority on this one.

Now, I'm not one of those who would argue for writing incorporating such things for the purposes of realism. I would never justify foul language in my writing using that argument, and I am shocked when I read foul language in literature labeled Christian. I also tread carefully around the use of sex in a story. I'm a firm believer that some things should be private (and that goes for real life, too!). But gore is an area where my hypocrisy runs rampant.

Can I blame the Bible for this? Remember left-handed Ehud and the sword through the fat king's belly? I love that story (Judges 3:15-25). Or the prophets who challenged Moses during the Wandering and got "consumed" with fire from heaven? God directed the Levites to go among their "smoldering remains" to collect the melted bronze censors and turn them into the altar cover (Don't believe me? Numbers 16:36-40).

I'm not writing scripture, so I will not claim God directs me in my gory details. No, it seems to be my own black heart that spits up this stinky, slurpy goop. Another irony? It doesn't affect me when I write it. I'm like a chef wearing goggles while chopping onions. I have no idea what kind of stench I've created until someone else walks in and yells about it.

So, I'm sorry for the gore. I don't see it going away. I'll try not to bury too many important details in the steaming pile of entrails, but that's the best I can do.

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