Tag Archives: action

Why Do We Enjoy The Action/Violence in Stories? (Part Two)

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I feel as if I must write this.

Two days ago, I posted an article about how disturbing it is that we humans, as a society, have a twisted appreciation for violence.  I was condemning the fact that we enjoy watching violence and stated that violence desensitizes us, thus making violence more acceptable in society.  I wanted to know why we felt this way.  Why do we enjoy violence?  We do we even, at time, crave seeing it?  Why does it feel good (say, from a contact-sport perspective)?

One blogger, Karandi over at 100WordAnime, challenged me in the comment section, stating that she disagreed with me.  Most people are not desensitized by the violence in movies or video games, and their feelings of real violence vs. story-violence are quite separate.

Now I don’t know if I agree with Karandi entirely, but I had an experience this morning that caused me to consider her words in greater detail.

If the following makes you feel uncomfortable, please forgive me.

I’m in college and I live in an apartment with my sister and one of her friends.  We noticed, to our dismay, that we have a bit of a mouse problem.  So we bought a mouse trap–the sticky/glue kind, that traps the mice but doesn’t kill them.  My sister forgot to buy mouse poison to place on the glue traps, so, while the mice would be stuck, we would still have to do the dirty work of getting rid of them.

Being the man of the house, I stated quite calmly that I would be happy to “finish the job”, in the event that we caught a mouse.

Well, I walked downstairs this morning to find not one but TWO mice caught in a trap.  One of the critters was smack-dab in the middle of the trap, the other one was caught only by the tail.  Grimly satisfied that we had caught them, I proceeded to get the broom…but then I decided that the broom was too soft, and I probably wouldn’t be able to kill the mice.

So I went back upstairs to get my shoe.  After pulling the mouse trap out, I looked down at the two little things.  And hesitated.

I wasn’t sure what made me pause.  Maybe it was the fact that, with a shoe, I would have to get close to them in order to smack them.  Maybe it was because, when they saw me, they started panicking, and writhing, trying to get away.

Did I feel bad that I was going to kill them…?  Was I just afraid of them?

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“WE KILL IT!!!”

I didn’t really get it.  I watch plenty of violent shows; some of my favorite anime are very violent.  I imagine myself as the characters, taking down Homonculi, Titans, you name it.  I’m positive that, if I were in those same circumstances, I would be powerful, strong, determined, and fearless.

And now I’m looking down at two mice, trying to be a man, but afraid to finish the job.

I didn’t have my contacts in, so these things were just two brown fuzz balls.  There was no sense of empathy as a result.  Honestly, I believe my hesitation simply arose from the fact that killing them was going to take deliberate action.  I didn’t feel “guilty” for what I was about to do.  I think that, at heart, I was afraid to kill, simply because…

…well, just because.

There’s something about killing that I find scary.  Even if I’m killing two pesky mice that keep on eating our food.  Once you kill something, it’s gone, and you are responsible.  It doesn’t matter that it was for a perfectly good reason.  There is still something scary about hitting something until it’s dead.

Well, once I reasoned that they could possibly escape, I did it.  I was, after all, the man of the house.  It would’ve been wrong for me to leave the dirty work to my sister or her friend.  We also had another woman and her 5 year old sister sleeping over.  I had to finish the job before any of them could wake up and witness the dirty work.

After I hit the mice once, any hesitation thereafter was nonexistent; it seemed nicer to end it as quickly as possible.

Once the deed was done, I felt satisfied with myself, but I was also shaken.  It wasn’t death that bothered me, but killing specifically.  I find it interesting that, although I thought I would’ve had no problem killing them, I ended up feeling disturbed.  Even though I thought violence was cool and empowering, I really didn’t have it in me to behave in such a manner.

And…well, that’s my story.

Violence, I suppose, oftentimes IS separated from what we see in movies or anime.  We are not what we watch.

Thoughts?

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Why Do We Enjoy The Action/Violence in Stories?

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All right, let’s face it.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all enjoy watching a well-choreographed fight scene.  It’s impressive to us.  It’s artsy.  It might even be “beautifully” done.

Let’s not forget that it’s exciting…it’s attractive…and we can even find ourselves “getting into it”, throwing punches at bad guys and delivering the final blow with the hero or heroine.

Does it ever bother you that we are like this?

Think about it.

I’ll never forget the time I was watching the Hunger Games in theaters, back in 2011.  It was the scene where Clove gets killed by Thresh.  Thresh takes Clove and slams her against the wall of the Cornucopia until she’s dead…and everyone in the audience cheers.

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I was honestly bothered by this.  Who cares that Clove was about to kill Katniss?  Who cares that Clove was definitely messed up?  We’re still talking about one human killing another (Thresh killing clove).  Why does this merit a cheer?

I don’t think cheering is the response that Collins (author of the Hunger Games) wanted.

Why are we obsessed with violence?  Why do we enjoy it, laugh at it, or think that it’s cool?

Is there some deeper meaning behind our desires?

Not to get too philosophical, but I personally believe that humanity has a fallen nature.  It’s not hard to see evidence of this.  That being said, I believe that we formerly had a pure, good nature before the Fall of Humanity (yes, I’m talking about Adam and Eve).

Thus, I’m wondering, does our desire for battle, our love of violence and action, come from our fallen nature?  Or the original human nature God gave us before the Fall?

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John Hedekira, the main character of Elithius…

These are questions that the characters in my book struggle with.  Is there a right or wrong reason to fight?  What should your intention be while fighting?  What should your disposition be?  Angry?  Calm?  Indifferent?  Passionate?

What do you think?  Are you bothered by how “into” action and violence our culture is?  Do you see this in yourself?  Is it a good thing or bad thing?


Interested in buying Elithius, my fantasy novel?  For a limited time only, Elithius is 99 cents as an eBook here.  Don’t miss out.

Thus begins the excitement!

Hey all!  I just published the first episode of The Golden Lands!  Check it out here in case you missed it!  And here’s the prologue in case you missed that too!

The Golden Lands is the story I’ve been working on for so long.  Give it a chance: I know you won’t regret it!

“Lots of action and interesting philosophy on good versus evil, with a nice set of mysteries. The battle scenes are well-described., and [I] am looking forward to further stories.” (Author Christy Nicholas, four star review) (Smashwords.com)


Stay awesome,

Dom

The Golden Lands, Episode 1

EPISODE 1: BLOOD AND SHADOW

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Image by Clare S

PROTAGONIST: JOHN HEDEKIRA

I am walking through the forest, back towards our house, carrying with me four rabbits in a bag that I use for hunting.  It has been a good day; all that’s left to do is to cook and share my kills with my brother and sister.  I sigh.  My siblings receive what I give them with such indifference.  “Maybe I should leave them,” I think grumpily, “maybe then they’ll understand.”

I shake my head, trying to push away my resentful attitude.  I may not know them, but I do love my siblings.  That’s what I tell myself; it’s what my parents always said.  That was before they disappeared.

I come to a halt as I near the edge of the woods.  I look at our home; small and cold, it is made entirely of oaken planks.  I grew up here.  However, ever since my parents disappeared, my own house has seemed so foreign to me.  Maybe it’s because of them, because of how they act…or don’t act.  My brother and sister are like shadows; they move to and fro as the sun makes its course, yet they do not speak, they do not show expression, they have no depth of character.  And I can’t understand why.

The light is fading.  I shiver, though it is not cold, and prepare to do what I have done every day since our parents disappeared: walk into our home with my gatherings, look into my siblings’ pale, empty faces, and slip into the dull, lonely silence as they cook and devour whatever I brought them.  I always let them eat however much they want, forgetting myself.  But they have never noticed my kindness.  I laugh with a note of hysteria, and the light seems to fade a bit more; they have always ignored my kindness!  In my mind, like a little flame flaring to life, a sense of anger and disgust sets in.

I walk through our back door, stepping into the small sitting room that is merged with our kitchen.  Heavy shadows blanket the entire room, save for certain areas that are touched by the golden beams of the setting sun, which enter through the two open windows set on either side of our front door.  The smell of the oaken boards, the feeling of warmth from the dying fire in one end of the room, is so familiar to me.  My brother, Frater, and my sister, Soror, look up from where they are playing on the floor with toys my parents made them.  Our eyes meet for a moment, and I see their faces.  Their faces, their expressions, are so pale and lifeless, no matter what I give them my siblings always refuse to react.  I feel a twinge of bitterness as they look away, once again disregarding me.  I don’t even get a greeting.  I frown.

They are so useless, I think angrily.  They choose to be the embodiment of depression, not even caring to rise from their own worthlessness.  I have to do everything for them.  But they could care less.  They choose to ignore life.  They are selfish and disgraceful.

For so long I have been convinced that I love them, but now I don’t know.  I am finished with their detached nature.  “Hello,” I say in a cold voice, trying to elicit a reaction from them.

They don’t even look up from their toys.  It’s as if they are deaf.  I clench my fist.  I have done everything an older brother should do.  Why won’t they answer me?

I kneel down next to Soror and shake her shoulders, trying to be gentle, but my anger gets the best of me, and it probably feels more like a shove.  “Soror,” I say, “I told you to have put in more wood for the fire before I got home.  Why didn’t you?”

Soror shrugs, not even looking at me.  She is fitting a doll of hers into a dress.  I grunt with annoyance and throw some wood onto the fire, too hard, for ashes and embers fly out of the hearth.  I see Soror flinch; some of the ashes landed on her arm.  She makes a sound of discomfort and pain and quickly brushes the ashes off.

“Maybe if you did what I said, that wouldn’t have happened,” I sneer.

As I finish speaking, Frater gets up and walks over to my hunting bag.  I think he is eight and Soror is twelve, but I can’t even remember.  He looks so young though.  After inspecting the rabbits, he walks back and begins playing again.

I sigh and begin unpacking my kills.  As I do, I say, “Soror, get a pot from the kitchen.”

She has never ignored a command from me before while I am standing in front of her.  She doesn’t move.

I bite my lip and clench my hands, so hard they turn white.  I am done.  “You know what?” I raise my voice.  They perk their heads up, and for what seems the longest time in a while, our eyes meet.  “If you don’t care, then none of us will eat.  If you want to sit and despair for no reason in the middle of the floor, then fine.  I won’t care for you anymore.”

I walk into my room and slam the door, falling into my bed with a huff of anger.  I lay there, my eyes narrowed with anger, seething with emotions that I have repressed for such a long time.  For fifteen minutes, I remain on my bed.

Then I hear Soror crying.  I roll my eyes; what has she done now?  I step outside my room, only to find that she has tried to begin skinning one of the rabbits I caught, and she is horribly failing—

Wastefully failing.

I briskly walk towards her.  “What are you doing?” I say sternly.

Then I know why she is crying.  She has cut her hand with the knife she is using, and she is crying loudly.

Too loudly.

“Shut up!” I shout at her.  “Look what you’ve done to the meat.  Don’t you care at all that I worked hard to catch those?”

I snatch the rabbits from her.  She cries more, holding up her hurt hand, blood running off her fingers.

I clench my teeth; even after I’ve berated her, she can’t even mumble an apology?  I take the knife too and crouch down in front of her.  “Maybe I should give you another cut!” I hiss.

She shrieks, shying away from the knife.  I stand and point it at her again.  “You are nothing but a worthless, lazy dog!  You do nothing but eat our food, the food I get, and you just get in the way!  You act like you’re not even human; you act like you’re dead.  And I wish you were dead!”

And with that, I walk into my bedroom and shut the door, locking my siblings out of my life.  I’m done with them…forever.

Or so I thought.  I didn’t hear their cries, so high-pitched and unearthly, maybe because I was focusing on my angry thoughts, or Soror’s weeping, which I silently enjoyed.  When I did hear them, a sound so foreign to me, I didn’t react; it could have been a strange bird, an owl, an animal in pain, but it wasn’t.

I notice that Soror has stopped crying, and everything has grown utterly silent.  I perk my head up.

A loud, terrifying scream sounds just outside our house, and an instant later I hear the front door get broken down.  Soror and Frater begin screaming with panic and horror, and immediately I rush for the only decent weapon I own; the sword standing upright in the corner of my room.

With a surge of speed, I burst out of my room.  They already have my siblings.  Without hesitation, I stab one of the intruders in front of me, and I acknowledge what I just killed.  It is a horrifying beast, black as the shadows in the room, standing like a man, but with horrible teeth and eyes, a grotesque face, and a large, muscular body.  The room is filled with them.  I immediately know what they are.  They are Evil.

They begin dragging Soror and Frater out of the house.  I cry out to my siblings, raising my sword, but I am blocked by a horde of the beasts.  The darkness is so thick around me, so dark I’ve never seen anything like it, as though the darkness is a black wall connecting the beasts, emanating from their skin.  The way they move makes my head swim, like they keep multiplying and then vanishing into the darkness.  I charge them, and two of them step out to meet me.  One after another, I cut both of them down.  I hear my siblings scream from outside, and I raise my head to look for them beyond our demolished front door.  I see them with their arms outstretched for me, and then all of a sudden I feel pain erupt in my stomach and I gasp.

Time freezes for a moment, and then I grunt with alarm again, looking down at the blade sticking into my body.  The blade retracts, and I release a quivering breath.  I fall to the ground on my side, watching as my blood pools beneath me, warm against my side.  As I lay there,—sharp, burning pain running through me—I look up, seeing outside in the fading light of day a distinct figure: a beast with long, matted hair, and a red cape.  Every Evil returns to his side, swarming about him.  And I know he is their leader.

Then they leave.  Their cries sound for long, pain-filled moments after, and then they fade into silence.  And all that’s left behind is blood and shadow.


TO BE CONTINUED…

In case any of y’all forgot…

I’m so thankful for all the support my fellow bloggers/readers have shown.  Check out what they’ve been saying about my first book!

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“This is a well-paced story with compelling main characters and plenty of action.” (Fan, four star review) (Smashwords.com)

“Lots of action and interesting philosophy on good versus evil, with a nice set of mysteries. The battle scenes are well-described., and am looking forward to further stories.” (Author Christy Nicholas, four star review) (Smashwords.com)

“This is a great fast-paced, action-packed adventure story. I kinda wish the fight with the dragon lasted a little longer though.” (Fan, four star review) (Smashwords.com)

“After I read the prologue on the author’s blog, I knew I had to read the rest of the book, so as soon as I heard that it was published, I got it. I was not disappointed.

John Hedekira and Faith Pinck are both realistic characters with depth, and the story is fast-paced and exciting.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a action-packed adventure story. I can’t wait to read the next one!” (Fan, five star review) (Smashwords.com)

This is an intense action/fiction. The book is well written. The characters, landscape, and especially fight scenes are artfully described by the author. The plot is extremely fast-paced. This was hard to get used to at first, but I have a feeling that the length of the whole series will make up for any trace of a rushed plot in each volume. Despite the fast-pace of the story, the author seems very determined to slowly develop his characters, which, coupled with the awesome action really makes for a good story. I would recommend this short novel to anyone, especially people who enjoy fantasy, anime, or manga.” (Fan, four star review) (Amazon.com)

“This book was one of the best books I ever read! Everything was clear and easy to read. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves action and adventure.” (Fan, five star review) (Amazon.com)

Click here to read a book review of Volume 1 at Thoughts and Theories

Interested in downloading a copy?  Volume 1 is free!  Feel free to click the picture of Volume 1 in the sidebar or just click here.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!


Stay awesome!

Dom

Well Hello :)

I know I haven’t really posted anything in a while.  It’s been a rather busy time, of course.  I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and shopped responsibly on Black Friday.

Things have been pretty busy for me, as far as the book series goes, and my own personal life.  I’m preparing to undergo surgery on Wednesday (I tore my ACL playing football [prayers are not suggested, although they are recommended :P]), and I also have rehab every day.  I actually could work on The Golden Lands while I do my rehab (which is basically just some simple stretching), but the exercises are too distracting, and my writing tends to lack very much emotion.

So I’ve been reading!  If anyone wants a nice, long fantasy novel to read, check out Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.  A friend recommended it to me…and dang.  I mean dang.  It’s a great series.  And it keeps me in good, fictional company during my periods of rehab.

mistborn

What’s going on now that the first arc of The Golden Lands is finished?   Well, revisions are being made to the presiding book covers, as promised, and I’m looking for literary agents for Volume 1.  I’m also writing Soul Bleeder, a behind-the-scenes novella set in the world of The Golden Lands.  And Volume 5 is also being written (just finished the first chapter yesterday!).

ALSO…although I’m not going to tell you what it is, my sister and I are working on creating something else for The Golden Lands…something very special.  It’s sort of a surprise…but just to get you excited, here’s a little teaser:

coming soon

Yes, that’s John, the main-character.  This is a screen shot from the program I use to color all of our pictures.  I believe this will be the most epic piece of artwork that Clare and I have created…I can’t wait for you to see it!

So that is what’s up with me!

Stay awesome!

Dominic