In the hands of a good writer, violence can excite, move us to tears, cheer the underdog, and most importantly, move the plot along in a seamless direction of completeness.
In the hands of a bad writer, violence can be cartoonish, over the top, a turnoff, give the wrong impression and most importantly, make the reader go, "feh." and throw the story away.
When I first started writing this "novel" back in '05/'06, I had no real idea on where I wanted to go with this. I merrily chugged along, completely oblivious to the fact that this story was making absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Because I was so oblivious to that particular fact, I was adding all kinds of mayhem and violence to the mix. Why? Probably because I had so much anger inside of me (remember kids, never write when you're angry, unless there is a stated need for it) that it was bound to make its way into the story.
So whenever I got stuck at a particular scene, the first thought that cropped into my head was, "Let's have the characters beat the snot out of each other."*
*Second thought was, "Oh, let's have the characters fuck the shit out each other," and thus instant sex scene in excruciating detail.
And thus, a cardinal rule of writing was basically ignored: do not write a violent scene for the pure sake of having a violent scene.
To whit: I had my characters beat the snot out of each other with phone books (had a particular affinity for that item), beat downs in the back seat of cars, in the front seat of cars, public beat down in bars and restaurants, shoot 'em up with nasty guns, and my sentimental fave, disembowelment. Oh yes, can't forget kicking someone to death and using a chainsaw to dispose of the body.
Yeah, I was a lean mean writing machine when it came to violence. My scenes of violence were overly cartoonish (like how many times can you beat someone up with a phone book and expect them to come back time and time again?), or incredibly disturbing (like hot candle wax on a woman's....breasts).
And if that wasn't enough, I threw in a few scenes of violence directed towards inanimate objects (what did I know? my descriptive writing sucked back then, so I needed a crutch to help get the job done).
Now if you think that this book was all violence and mayhem, it wasn't. There were moments of tenderness, of genuine warmth and love sprinkled quite liberally throughout the book. Problem was that the scenes of violence more often than not, completely overwhelmed and destroyed those particular moments. Which was pretty weird since this book was my first attempt at a romance.
In any event, I continued mixing scenes of unmitigated and disturbing violence with scenes of borderline porn and every conceivable sexual frivolity known to man.
Little did I know that the worst was yet to come, and that I was to establish a particular notoriety that I am still trying to live down to this day.
Not sure if there really is any question to be derived from this post. All I'm trying to do with this post is to explain to how not to write violence into a story.