Anyone who’s read my work can probably guess my answer to the question below. Heck, anyone who just kinda knows me in passing can likely imagine the maniacal laughter this spawned when it popped up in the question list.
Question 54 – It’s Friday the 13th. Horror is a popular genre. Could you torture one of your characters?
To put it briefly: Yes. Yes I can.
To be more in-depth:
H. Anthe Davis:
Absolutely. I’ve tortured many of them already — if not in body, then certainly in mind. Nightmares are my joy. I particularly like tormenting my leader-type characters by having horrible things happen to their subordinates; one or two instances of that and they begin neatly torturing themselves. But then, I -am- writing what I would consider fantasy/horror, so it’s a necessity. There’s some gore but I’ve always preferred the psychological angle.
Others’ answers: Authors Answer 54 – Torturing Our Characters
I do want to note that I’ve been easing into it throughout the series. It was never my intention to be grimdark — I don’t read that stuff. I like to consider Book 1 to be about 5-10% horror and the rest fantasy (with a touch of SF), with the level ramping up slowly. Right now, at Book 4, I am regularly traumatizing the characters — but they’re getting used to it. They carry on. (Most of them.) I’d say the horror level is about…25%? It will rise a bit higher yet, but it won’t eclipse the fantasy aspect, and I think the worst thing I’ll ever do in this series has already been done circa Book 3.
It’s an interesting topic though, and one of my fellow authors brings up the point that horror pushes characters into a more emotional place…a raw place, and ideally a true place. Somewhere beyond whatever facade they’ve constructed.