Saturday, July 21, 2018

How Do You Handle Violence/ Danger in a Story? By Connie Vines #RR #07/21/18

How do you handle/use violence, or any type of danger, in your stories?

Rhobin thank you, once again, for this month’s Round Robin topic.

The definition of Violence (
  • ·         swift and intense force:
  • ·         the violence of a storm.
  • ·         rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment: to die by violence.
  • ·         an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws: to take over a government by violence.

The definition of Danger (
  • ·         liability or exposure to harm or injury; risk; peril.
  • ·         an instance or cause of peril; menace.
  • ·         Obsolete. power; jurisdiction; domain.

Since I view reading in a way to relax, to solve a mystery, or learn what motivates people/humanity/etc., I am always selective in how, to what degree, I insert danger/or any degree of violence into my stories.

I am more inclined to have suspenseful elements in a story.  However, in a historical novel, including YA, there is a certain amount of violence which was part of life during any given time period.  I do not go into graphic detail but I can’t erase or change historical facts.  In my current release, Tanayia—Whisper upon the Water, set in 1880s Indian Territory, my heroine’s band is murdered and she in the only survivor (historical fact).  She is taken hostage and escapes (historical fact) only to be taken to a Native American Boarding School.  

My heroine is resourceful and a survivor.  My readers travel with her.  They clear for her; cry for her; and learn from her.  In the epilogue, Tanayia receives her hard-won happy-ending.

I strive to given my hero and heroines an upbeat ending, or at the very least, hope for a brighter future.

Please stop by and see what the other member of this month’s members of Round Robin have to say:

Dr. Bob Rich


  1. Hi Connie, this is my 4th attempt to leave this comment. Google doesn't like me today. I read detective novels for the problem solving. Like you, I write historicals and I'm always aware of how violent Regency society was, but I don't use the violence for entertainment - it's there because it was. Also, it lets the good characters shine. anne Stenhouse

  2. Yes, and the message of your book about your lovely little Indian girl is one of movement toward decency, compassion, and even love developing between erstwhile enemies.

    Your story is a perfect example of what I said about how violence should be used as a tool for character growth.

  3. I agree with you that the use of violence should have a purpose in the story: show the times, help the character grow, or establish an issue to overcome.

  4. Historical fiction is a difficult one to get through if you're trying to avoid violence. But then, I think it's difficult in all genres precisely because of our history. We see it in our streets today even though we're "evolved" and know better.

  5. Although many in our world today would like to change or erase history (tearing down statues, denying the holocaust etc) but as you point out, erasing violence in our writing whether historical or contemporary would make it unrealistic. Good post.

  6. Violence in historical novels has a different feel, I think, than contemporary reactions. Just think of the picnics that took place during public hangings during the Georgian era. For all that we have so much death and violence presented to us on a daily basis via the media, I don't know anyone who would willingly go out to observe it.

  7. Good post, Connie - and the comments are equally interesting!!!

  8. Most people don't enjoy violence in real least most won't admit it. But there were little old ladies who brought their knitting to watch the beheadings during the French Revolution. There were white folks who sent postcards to their friends and relatives showing them partying, picnicking, and having a great time with their kids, while a black person was hanging from a tree, dead, or being burned at their feet. Human nature is bizarre.

    But violence in a story needs to serve a purpose. I don't like gratuitous violence any more than gratuitous sex. Both need to serve the purpose of advancing the story and the character development.


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