July 30th, 2007
Violence in Romance

I found out my edits from Harlequin are on their way. I should get them by the end of this week. Hopefully they won’t take me more than a week to finish, then I’ll be able to start on book two of the Dead World series for Tor. Yay!

Alison mentioned something about violence in romance on her blog. I do find it ironic that people get so upset about sex in books, but not about violence. I think that says more about our society than anything else. We’re so de-sensitized, when it comes to violence. That’s probably a bad thing, but I doubt there is any way to change it.

I’m the type of reader that isn’t bothered by much in a book. If there’s a lot of sex or a lot of violence, I don’t mind as long as it makes sense in the story. I know I’m not the typical romance reader. And that worries me because my first single title release, RED has a lot of graphic violence in it. I wrote the type of book that I like to read. I know that some of the choices I made in the book will lose me readers. It can’t be helped. If I tamed down the story, then the book would no longer be my vision.

I set out to write a different kind of romance. Whether I succeeded or not, remains to be seen. One thing I’ve learned in this business is that you have to make yourself happy first. Everything else is gravy.

Does graphic violence in books bother you? Do you have a line that you don’t want crossed? If so, what is it?

20 comments to “Violence in Romance”

  1. Hi Jordan,

    I’m with you. Violence in romance doesn’t bother me. I tend to write on the darker side and have a good/fair amount of violence in my stories.

  2. Doesn’t bother me unless it’s gratuitous.

    I feel the same way about the sex/violence thing. If one’s okay, why not the other?

  3. Mandy, I know that it bothers a lot of readers. I’m not sure they talk about it quite as readily as they do about ‘sex’ in a book, but I’ve seen a few comments where readers say they’ll stop reading if a book is too graphically violent.

  4. May, I’m fine with both as long as they fit the story. It’s when it’s tossed in for shock value or filler that it bothers me.

  5. well, you know I love me some kick ass violence in my books, whether they are fantasy, romance, horror or whatnot.

    And I don’t think you’re going to lose anything only gain so much with your book RED. I CAN NOT WAIT for that to come out!!!

  6. Vivi, Yes, I know that. ;)Our reading tastes are very similar. 🙂

    Thank you. I hope you’re right. I have visions of the paranormal romance market imploding before my book comes out. LOL!

  7. You’ll just reinvigorate the paranormal romance market. *ggg* The violence in RED isn’t extreme. I’ve read far more graphic violence in Anita Blake books.

    I’m not bothered by violence if it fits the story and it’s not, er, excessive is maybe the word? I mean, I don’t want to wallow in it. For instance, American Psycho is one book I will never pick up. But the level of violence I typically find in urban fantasy isn’t extreme and considering they tend to be action/adventure stories with gritty realism, well, it wouldn’t seem right if it wasn’t there. It would read sanitized.

  8. Like you, violence doesn’t bother me if it fits the story.

  9. Charli, American Psycho is the only book I’ve had to take breaks from reading frequently. The disturbing images depicted were really hard to get out of my head. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep.

  10. Charli, Snort, that would be a trick. *g* Yeah, but AB isn’t filed in the romance section. 😉 I guess I toss back and forth with my reading. I’ve been devouring a ton of urban fantasies as of late and reading horror. I never thought I’d like horror, but I do. Some of it is pretty graphic.

  11. Bailey, That’s how I feel. Don’t put stuff in a book for shock value. Make sure it makes sense.

  12. Vivi, I’ve had that problem with a couple of sci-fi books. There were some scenes that took weeks to get rid of. Not fun. I haven’t tried reading American Psycho…yet. *g*

  13. I’m actually kind of a wuss for violence, I’ve been bothered by the violent content in Linda Howard books. I will pretty much avoid any book I think will be disturbing or squicky because like Vivi said, those images stay with me. It goes with being creative, you can vividly imagine…everything. And RED did not give me nightmares or make me queasy. Possibly because of who did the violence, if I can say that without spoilers. Stephen King doesn’t bother me, because I know there’s no monster in the closet. Kiss the Girls? Would bother me.

  14. Nothing bothers me if it fits in the story. As I’ve aged, the books I shy away from are the ones which explore degeneracy and depression. I see enough in real life headlines. I don’t need to read a book dealing with it, no matter how well written it is. I guess I’ve cycled back into the Fairy Tale stage in my reading tastes. 🙂

  15. Charli, That’s interesting that the person/persons/monsters doing the violence make a difference to you. I’m glad that RED didn’t give you nightmares. I have had a few people get back to me about my urban fantasy and say that it gave them bad dreams. I guess it depends on your mental cut off point. I know Stephen King’s The Shining scared the crap out of me and gave me nightmares for weeks because I couldn’t shake the images.

  16. Bernard, I tend to stay away from books that explore depression, too. There’s nothing wrong with fairytales. 😉

  17. Anything involving eyes. That’s the only line I can’t cross. *shudder*.

    But I’m more a fan of suspense in a book–anyone can write a violent scene but it takes skill to make my skin crawl and my heart race with fear and anticipation in a book.

  18. Angela, Interesting. I’ve seen a few movies involving eyes that have freaked me out, but I’ve never encountered a book. It’s cool that you still like suspense. 🙂

  19. Violence never bothers me. Sex does, sometimes, if it’s badly written (*cough* Auel *cough*), feels gratuitous (one day I’ll learn how to spell that word, lol) or gets too detailed about the juices involved. I don’t want to feel like I need a shower after reading a scene. 😉

  20. Gabriele, There are a lot of words I’m still working on spelling correctly. LOL! I would suggest that you stay away from the erotic romance genre. 😉 And I agree, a badly written love scene is painful to read. *g*