One of the nice things about being a writer is that I sometimes get to be a bit of a bastard. In every day life I’d like to think I’m fairly nice and kind, but when it comes to writing, I pretty much torture my characters, and in some cases actually do so. Because they are fictional there’s no real come back. Thank God, because if they were real, then after the stuff I do to them in Book 2…

My novels are filled with violence, so do I ever worry about it? A lot, actually. I do not personally hold with the notion that violence in books, television or video games results in violent people but I do recognise that in certain circumstances with certain people it can feed it. I’m not a violent person, nor live in violent surroundings, so for me fictional violence is an escape, an adrenaline rush I can come down from after the scene.
However, I do still try and make my violence mean something. I do try and give it consequence. I have a real problem that so many fantasy books have used rape as a lazy shorthand to define strong female characters (but that’s for another blog post one day). As a result I try and be careful with how I use violence whilst still writing incredibly violent books. And in this book, the more domestic type of violence, both physical and mental, is much more an underlying theme.
Which meant that when I had to write a scene last night, I was really troubled by it. One of the fun things in this book is the tuckerisations. This is where you take someone you know and use their name or put their character into a book. A little easter egg for your friends, if you like. In this book, it’s my Warcraft guild and their characters. They are background characters in a pub but last night I needed a scene where someone comes in and smashes one of the girl’s faces into the table.
It’s a pretty shocking scene. It’s meant to be, if only to show the development of something going on in the background. I hate fantasy worlds that stay static around characters and I hope in this book you’ll get to see the world change, not always for the better and not just because of a main character’s actions. I want Venefasia to feel like a real place where change happens every day whether our main characters are always there or not.
My problem with the scene isn’t so much the actual violence. I’m going to do much worse over the course of this novel and some of the violence is really going to challenge me as a writer because I think it’s a little different to what we regularly see in fantasy novels. No, my problem was the fact that the girl who gets attacked is a tuckerised warcraft character played by one of the girls in my guild.
So I find myself on Facebook late last night, actually asking permission to do this. I tell anyone I tuckerise that I reserve the right to kill them in the most hideous of ways, and everyone has taken this in the way it’s meant. Actually they encourage me to do so, everyone wants a glorious death scene. But this act of violence is a little different and I wanted to check that my guildee would be fine with me doing this, even if it was to a character named after their fictional avatar.
Thankfully, they were cool and have given me their blessing. Which is great, because violence aside, this chapter is a cracker and sets up a lot of things for books to come. It actually gave me goosebumps to write. Which is good, because the previous chapter was hell to write!