Violent scenes have more impact when they come as a surprise. I am not talking about those in horror stories where the suspense leading up to the action is often more effective than the violence itself. Battle scenes tend to be ongoing and have violence surrounding them but a sudden violent act amongst the turmoil can have a devastating effect. A good example of this can be found in the book, “Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray,” which I reviewed recently. Here the author expertly describes battles between primitive peoples but in the last battle the impact of a sudden violent act against an individual comes as a shock.
My novel “Magic Bullets,” opens in a prologue with violence perpetrated by a single terrorist. This is not referred to again until well into the story but I hope has the reader wondering how this event effects the narrative. I feel that placing such violence in a novel without any lead up to it can be much like what happens in life. The real effect is in the aftermath and comes when the characters in the story deal with it. Post traumatic stress is an occurrence which happens to many people who experience violence, including professional soldiers. The skill of the writer is to examine how these effect the characters in the story.
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