Monday, October 8, 2012

Won't somebody please think of the children!

One of the questions that I get occasionally is "Do you think violence is appropriate in a young adult novel?" Only adults ask this. Kids are invariably fine with it, probably because they haven't yet learned that they're expected not to be. If you've seen the movie Stand by Me, you know what I mean: four boys go on an overnight trip just to see a dead body, and maybe poke it with a stick.

There isn't that much violence in Torn from Troy, but the book is set in the Trojan War, after all. Bronze age warfare was much more brutal and personal than warfare today. If you killed someone, you could expect their blood to splash you, and possibly a few organs or body parts.

There is no gratuitous violence in Torn from Troy, and what there is serves a purpose. To tell a story like the Odyssey with no violence would be like telling a story about the Arctic without snow: it's too deeply a part of the landscape for the story to feel real without it.

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