Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blood'n Guts, Please

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a fan of mysteries and thrillers. I can make my way through a Stephen King grotesque mutilation or one of Patricia Cornwell’s gruesome Scarpetta autopsies without skipping a few pages ahead. I love CSI, Criminal Minds and their ilk and I don’t find myself cringing at the gory bits very often. Recently though, my friends were talking about how they wish they’d tone down some of the slice and dice.


What would CSI be without “soup man”, the decomposed body found inside a suitcase? Okay, well maybe you wouldn’t want to watch that episode while eating pea soup . . .

When I write blood’n guts stuff in my own books I admit my stomach will churn as I type. When I’m in my characters’ heads it can feel too close. Still, I’d hate to think my readers have skimmed over those challenging pages but I’m curious . . . do you close your eyes or skip ahead during the gory parts in books or shows?


Sally MacKenzie said...

Well, if they are too gory, I just don't watch them. Since I have 4 sons and a dh, I don't watch much TV. (Because if it's not gore, it's sex. I DON't skip the sex scenes in books--unless they get too insert tab B into slot A or so convoluted I have to stop and think "is that physically possible?"--and I don't mind writing sex scenes, but I don't want my sons reading them. Yeah, the mom gene controls.)

I can't watch scary movies like Friday the 13th at all. I was scarred for life as a young kid when I watched some some 60s (or 50s) horror flick with giant cockroaches (yes, I had older brothers) and I had nightmares for years. (Not that I'm fond of regular sized cockroaches....)

Caroline Linden said...

I LOVED the Scarpetta novels, and even read the really nasty parts with a sort of morbid fascination. Which book was it where they exhumed the body of a child and autopsied it? I was alternately battling tears and nausea through that part.

But then Kay got too hard and remote, and I quit reading them. Same for Elizabeth George, esp since the blurb for the new Lynley mystery indicates his wife dies--I refuse to read that book, ever.

For me, if the blood 'n guts are obviously fake, and in a book I don't even have to see creepily realistic pictures of it, I can take it. It's shows like ER where they're cutting open a baby's chest and... (shudders)

Don't think I've ever skipped a sex scene on purpose, though. And does anyone else find it absolutely hilarious that Sally MacKenzie, whose books all have the word NAKED writ large on the covers, acts all modest and demure? We were talking...ahem...nuts and bolts... with an erotica writer in Atlanta at the RWA conference, and Sally actually put her fingers in her ears at one point!

Ann Christopher said...

Wow, Wendy. And you SEEMED like such a nice person.

I've never seen an episode of any CSI of any kind. Haven't read SK for years, ever since the clown in IT scared the bejesus out of me. Would NEVER think of going to a slasher flick. Have barely recovered from seeing THE EXORCIST when I was in high school.

Hope I don't get drummed out of the blog...


Wendy Roberts said...

I have 4 kids as well but, lucky for me, these shows are usually on after they're in bed. Maybe after reading Disney bedtime stories, I need to grab something just for me!

I'm not into seeing horror movies because they're usually just the same old same old but, hey, give me a Sixth Sense or Silence of the Lambs any day!

My reading pile is a mixed bag. My Stephen Kings are piled next to sweet romances. Guess I'm weird. Maybe I'm the one who'll get drummed out LOL!

Sally MacKenzie said...

Hmm. I think Blogger doesn't like me--it ate my last comment. But I will not give up...unfortunately.

Caroline, I AM modest and demure. I didn't know what that erotica writer was saying until you translated for me--THEN I put my fingers in my ears. As to the Naked guys, I can't help it if my characters get frisky once in a while.

And, Wendy, yes, I did like Sixth Sense. But Silence of the Lambs? No. Too creepy for moi. I fled the TV room.

Kristina Cook said...

Oh, I like creepy/scary even if it's gory--stuff like Silence of the Lambs. Even the faux-gory stuff like the old Friday the 13th movies, I'm fine with. The stuff on TV doesn't bother me, either. But I can't watch the really explicit, realistic violence--like in Reservoir Dogs, or even Pulp Fiction. THAT disturbs me. But I can read any of that kind of stuff just fine--I don't skim over it.

I have found myself skimming through sex scenes--you know, the real 'clinical' sounding ones, or the ones that go on and on for pages and pages, yet lack any emotional connection. But I really enjoy well-written, emotional ones. My CP, Charlotte Featherstone, writes the best sex scenes EVER!

Eve Silver said...

Wendy, I'm with you! the original CSI is my all time fave show. I loved the "soup man" episode.

But I can't stomach watching mindless gore or torture. Something like Hostel just isn't my taste.

So the question is... why??? I think it is because with something like CSI, I get pulled into the science of it and the mystery. The gore holds no appeal, but figuring out where the gore came from, the bits of the puzzle, is great fun.