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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Much is Too Much

When you’re writing a story and you have to work in a kidnapping with a mad man, how much violence is too much?

I have to ask myself this as I finish up my romance with a Marine hero and an NCIS Agent heroine. I do a pretty big build up to the scene and I want it to be believable. But is it possible to go too far? Would it turn you off to read the realistic nature of a kidnapping and beating, maybe some sexual undertones?
I write some of the scene in the bad guys POV and I really do think it works, but I’ve had two people who usually read my stuff tell me it was a little much. So, how do I tone it down without losing the feel I want for that part of the story?

I’m not finished yet, so for now I’m leaving the scene as it is. Once I’m done I’ll let my CP take a look and see if she thinks it’s too much as well. Then I’ll do some self edits and see where I’m at.
So…your thoughts? Would it turn you off too much to read more or try other works of mine? Would you be afraid other books would have the same tone?

Before answering, yes, my story is a romance, but it is also about an investigation into a sex ring. It involves a man who isn’t playing with a full deck and becomes obsessed with the heroine. When he see the hero and heroine together his behavior becomes worse.

Also, this does let the hero come in and save the day. Which I love.


Leah Braemel said...

That's a good question, Jambrea. Unfortunately it probably depends a lot upon the readers' sensibilities.

Write it the way you want, see what your crit partners think but remember that it still comes down to what you want eventually. If you think it's necessary trust your gut. If an editor tells you to tone it down, then listen, but otherwise, trust your own judgment.

Jambrea said...

Thanks Leah! :)

I know when I read a story it doesn't bother me as long as it should be there. You know what I mean?

Valerie T. said...

She scared me. Just sayin'!

My sweet Jambrea writing scary stories! GAH! ;)

Jambrea said...


Um...then I won't show you my horror type stuff! heehee

Erin Sinclair said...


I'm a big fan of common sense heroine's who have the ability to save themselves, the hero is the icing on the cake. Violence, emotional intensity, fear factor, that all depends on what you're shooting for as the weaving of the story. I say trust your instincts. One of the most gut wrenching books I ever read was Bastard Out of Carolina, it was a heartbreaking novel, but considering it was autobiographical (the author's story), the fear, violence and betrayal made total sense to the story she related. Check it out, you'll see what I mean.


Jambrea said...

Thanks Erin.

In the story she helped in getting herself saved, but she couldn't physically get away herself. I like a woman who can help herself too!

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