As you probably know, I review a good number of books here on the blog (at least twelve a year by Indies, and that number tends to go up as my favorite authors - both Indie and Traditionals - release new works). One thing I notice in the books I read is the author holding themselves back from writing a scene that may seem too graphic for their audience. No, I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about violence, gore, and death.
If you're writing Young Adult, you do have to keep it toned down. That's not the genre I'm talking about here. However, you may reconsider your target audience if you come upon a scene you know will launch your story into a whole other realm. You feel me?
Most writers I know see the story take shape in their head as they put the words on the page. Things happen, characters act in their own way, and unexpected situations arise. Remember: A book isn't prime-time television, and you can write what you're seeing in the moment.
Let your fingers communicate what's in your head. If you see it on your inner-movie reel, put it on the page.
I can't stress this enough.
Here's some examples of lead-ups to scenes that you may shy away from writing:
Tiffany spun around the dark room; her eyes searching in the inky blackness for a visual to accompany the sounds her ears were picking up. Shuffling, grunts, and heavy breathing assaulted her most active sense. Arms out, she waves her hands through the air like she's swimming. Her heart is pounding, and she can smell metal. Something hard, cold, and rough is found. A wall. It must be a wall. Feeling her way along, she finds what she hoped for and pushes the switch to the on position. As the light fills the space, and her eyes adjust, her hands fly up to cover her mouth and muffle the scream building behind her lips.
Now, this can be a myriad of things:
- People being eaten
- A group of men ready to attack her
- A group of women ready to attack her
- Giant spiders
Again, you can take this in a million directions:
- Death by haunting vixen
- A quest
- Ghostly encounters
- Myth and Lore
What I'm trying to get across here is: Don't let the audience dictate what you put on the page. If you end up with a novel geared toward an older, more mature audience, let it go. However, if you think Clark will end up whisked away to a land of fantasy and the story is supposed to start there, let it be so. But if another idea strikes you, let it come out. Write it two ways if you must and choose your favorite.
Whatever you do, don't shy away from the gore, death, or violence if the story calls for it. I'd be willing to bet that your YA brain already went with a quest (if that's what you write). Listen to your inner writer.
Have you ever ended up with a book totally different from the idea you began writing?
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!