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Old 12-26-2012, 02:17 AM   #1
itsaplane
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How much violence/gore is TOO much?

I know, edgy YA exists. But I wonder if there's a limit to how much blood/gore/violence can be put in a YA without it being you know, "too much"? For instance, decapitation is a pretty gruesome thing, but is it okay to happen in a book? Would describing it in detail to the nitty gritty of the skin ripping and seeing the spinal cord, etc, be too much?

I haven't read a lot of YA books that get really gruesome like that. (They might be out there, I wouldn't really know. and the only author I can think of is Poppy Z Brite but I don't know if her books are YA...) So I'm just curious: Is there this line that you shall not cross when it comes to describing horrific/gruesome/bloody scenes in YA?
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:45 AM   #2
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Check these out. If none of these answer your question, feel free to bring this thread up again

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...light=violence (And check out the links on post #3--katesmash--for more links that should answer your question. It comes up A LOT!)

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...light=violence

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...light=violence

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...light=violence

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=71220

And to quote from Smish (one of our mods):

Quote:
1) Read the stickies.
2) Read YA. Lots of it.
3) Violence is okay. Graphic violence is okay. Graphic violence is actually even okay in MG.
4) The Hunger Games is about children being forced to kill each other while the nation watches on television. It's a very popular YA series and the movie was in theaters not long ago. Graceling is about a teen forced to murder people at the will of her King. And Some Girls Are is an example of contemporary YA with graphic violence.

ETA: And Living Dead Girl is the most brutal novel I've ever read. *shudders*
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:48 AM   #3
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As bizarre as it sounds, I think the only deciding factor is that it has to be in YA voice. I myself have gotten into the YA label kind of accidently. This questions is relevant to me as well, even though I'm doing light novels & graphic novels.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:09 AM   #4
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As bizarre as it sounds, I think the only deciding factor is that it has to be in YA voice.
The deciding factor is that it has to appeal to YA readers.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:59 AM   #5
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YA voice is necessary, but it is not the only factor.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:03 AM   #6
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Try not to think of it in terms of "too much." You're not trying to pass an MPAA rating. The important thing is whether the level of violence/gore is appropriate in the context of the novel overall. That's the case no matter what age group you're writing for. In other words, be graphic, just not gratuitous.

ETA to answer this:
Quote:
So I'm just curious: Is there this line that you shall not cross when it comes to describing horrific/gruesome/bloody scenes in YA?
I have a line, yeah, but it's there for personal reasons, not because of my target readership.

Also, I just noticed you live in VA Beach. High five! I'm on the North End.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:07 PM   #7
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I wonder about the morals of violence in YA. In my WIP the protagonist commits violence that isn't punished at the end, and in fact does end up helping her towards her goal. I feel like violence is acceptable if shown as evil, but I am curious about how it is viewed if portrayed as a necessary evil, or even just a possible course of action...
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:23 AM   #8
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When it is simply there for the sake of having it. If it makes sense in the setting and context of the story, then it’s fine.

That’s my opinion on the matter

I don’t write YA, but I stop describing gore/violence when a character can’t bear to look at it anymore. The “line” in that case, depends on how willing my characters are to look and how much it bothers them.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:46 AM   #9
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For instance, decapitation is a pretty gruesome thing, but is it okay to happen in a book?
God, I hope so since there's one in the book I'm querying.

I agree with Dorky. Violence with a purpose, or that HAS to be the way it is for the story, is fine for YA. Violence and gore for no other reason than to make the reader queasy? I read horror, and even I don't like that.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:34 AM   #10
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Have you read The Hunger Games?
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:50 AM   #11
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Poppy Z. Brite definitely isn't YA but I did enjoy her books a lot as a teenager. In fact, Drawing Blood is still one of my favourite books.

/end derail

But really, her level of violence would kind of be pushing it for YA, IMO. It's pretty gratuitous. Not that you can't have that violence in a YA novel, but it would have to suit the tone and overall environment of the book.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:26 AM   #12
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At this point, I'm just going to say this: Post the scene in SYW.

I've seen a lot of weird things in YA lately, ranging from odd incest stuff to erotica-esque sex scenes to weird dreamy rape/abortions to girls laughing about other girls being raped.

Quite honestly, you never know. Your level of too violent might be my level of yawn-worthy.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:30 AM   #13
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Have you read The Hunger Games?
The level of gore in The Hunger Games is actually not that bad--or at least not compared to Battle Royale.

I'm reading The Monstrumologist right now, and that has a fairly intense level of gore.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:31 AM   #14
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...to weird dreamy rape/abortions to girls laughing about other girls being raped.
I'm curious what those books are.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by breaking_burgundy View Post
The level of gore in The Hunger Games is actually not that bad--or at least not compared to Battle Royale.

I'm reading The Monstrumologist right now, and that has a fairly intense level of gore.
Yeah, Battle Royale is pretty gruesome. I haven't read Hunger Games.

I didn't know people were still replying to this, haha. All the violence has a purpose, and it's certainly not at a Poppy Z Brite level. I can barely stomach some of that stuff myself.

I tend to second guess myself a lot, so thanks everyone. c:
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breaking_burgundy View Post
I'm curious what those books are.
It's not really a spoiler, so here you go:

First one is Madapple. That is just a fucking weird book.

Second one is Some Girls Are. Spoiler: One of the girls actually locks the MC in the closet with her rapist, knowing he tried to rape her previously. I say rapist instead of would be rapist because, well, it depends.
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