Friday, February 12, 2016

writing fantasy's most graphic violence

A lot of authors write violence into their fantasy novels. Joe Abercrombie's been leading the charge for a few years now (and it's always nice to see a fellow George G. Gilman fan), and many have followed beneath a banner of grimdark.

So, where do I think I'm different?

Well, I'm a little more graphic. I'm not sure that's something to be proud of, though, and I'd like to use this post to explain why I decided to go this route.

Firstly, I was dissatisfied. I guess I've grown up around 80s action flicks, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Deadpool, and horror movies. You might not know this, but I used to review horror films. This is going back to the late 90s and I've now long since OD'ed on them, but I loved watching them. Splashier the better. No, sorry, I wasn't a King fan. I was more into James Herbert.

If you haven't read James Herbert, he's an amazing writer. He was brilliant at making you care about a character in record time. In one short chapter, you'd get some backstory and enough personality that, when the rats ate that character at the end of that same chapter, you really felt bad. And boy, did he know how to make entrails glisten. Graphic as hell, he made my teen jaw drop. I'd never read anything quite like it.

When choosing how to portray the violence in the Nysta series, I toyed with a few different styles. I was originally much more subdued. The action was less stylistic, and more straight-forward. I changed my way of thinking after reading a popular author who wrote a lot of books about a supposed assassin character. Only, the twist is, his assassin character was never actually an assassin. They were the good guy, and they had honour. They seemed to only kill bad guys.


I decided Nysta would kill anybody. Just pay her enough. And, while I'm developing her code of ethics over the next few books, I already know her code won't stop her killing possible good guys. Just pay her. Or else.

With that kind of decision, graphic violence more or less becomes compulsory. And you have to be willing to get your hands wet, so to speak. Splashy. Grisly. Entrails like a busted sack of eels (loved that line).

I'm writing this because people ask if fantasy should have this kind of violence. I can only answer with a shrug and say, it depends. It depends on what you're trying to achieve. Would this work with Lord of the Rings? Probably not. Or Salvatore? Probably not. And I'm sure Eddings didn't want to go down this path, no matter what Beldin wanted.

Violence is, in essence, a character of its own. It's something which adds colour to your story, and that colour doesn't always need to be vicious and red to make your story work. Gritty is not always best. It's just one style among many. Choose it with care, because you can't escape it once you make it your own...

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

some fallout 4 moments

I may or may not play too much Fallout 4. I can't help it. I love Bethesda games. I was an addict to Morrowind, then Skyrim. I love the humour that underlies the brutal uncaring permission to murder. For example, the teddy bears in Fallout 4 being placed in some bizarre and often humorous poses. And the "autons", or shop mannequins as you can see below.

I love the mods, too. How you can change the game to look and feel exactly how you want it to be. That Bethesda has allowed the modding community run rampant has shown a godly amount of respect to their fans and is one reason I believe Bethesda gamer fans are so rabid. It also meant I played Skyrim more than any other game in my life, including WOW which I was an addict to for many years, and look to be playing Fallout 4 even more.

I love that you really can make your own story, too. Don't want to do the main quest? Don't. Don't want to do the side quests? Don't. Do what you like. For me, the joy of breathless and cautious exploration is awesome. Finding a new door or a hatch and finding a secret room? Gaming doesn't get better.

Most of all, I love the look of the games. They're beautiful. Slap an ENB on and you practically cry at how beautiful death in the wastelands can be. The world they've designed can have some scenery which looks too good to belong in a game. Too real. With that, let me share with you some of my favourite screenies I've taken. If you'd like to see more, visit my Imgur(no shameless self-plug, it makes no money for me!).

Finally, I have to say, I will always feel a chill down my spine now every time I hear "War. War never changes."

I love you, Bethesda. Be like war. Never change.
trudi and her spawn must die

boom. right in the back. that's how i roll.

a tank girl moment

fire by night.

boom by day.

just plain weird.