In The Writer's World

Sex and violence. The books we read, the movies we watch, the prime-time television programs we see are riddled with it. Just sitting through the previews–not to mention the advertorials before the previews in any given movie theater on any given day–tell us this: sex and violence sell. Particularly if lots of crashes and explosives also are involved.

Most of this is too much for me. I need a little more subtlety. And although subtlety is not Emma Golden’s strong suit, like me she does try to be a bit delicate when it comes to describing sex and violence.

There was no sex in “An Unholy Alliance”. All my friends complained. “Where’s the sex? We want sex! We demand sex!!!” This forced me to write my first sex scene. Given most I’ve read, it was pretty demure. Actually, it was pretty embarrassing. And my daughter really doesn’t approve of her mother writing about sex–especially between old people.

As for the violence, in “Alliance” most of it happened off-stage, and there wasn’t that much. (How English of me.) Think of the ancient Greek dramas where the bodies are piled up on the stage at the end. Ghastly and horrific things have transpired, but the Greeks trusted the imaginations of those in the audience. Viewers didn’t need to see them happen, but they got the picture anyway. All those bodies. All that wailing from the Chorus. I actually kinda like that.


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  • Betsy Holzgraf says:

    I much prefer subtlety and the sex and violence happening “off the stage and page.” I like mysteries, like “Unholy Alliance,” where the victim isn’t very likable, the body is found after the violence that did him in and the story takes place in an interesting setting. I’m learning something and am involved in the mystery. Stick to your instincts, there’s an audience, Judy.

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