Should every story you write have that “shock” factor?
Okay, let’s rewind a bit. What exactly do I mean by the shock factor?
Shock factor or value is defined as “the potential of an action, image, text, or other form of communication to provoke a reaction of disgust, shock, anger, or fear.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Here are a few films that have some varying degree of shock value:
Natural Born Killers
The Dark Knight
If you’ve seen any or all of these, you know exactly what part (or parts) was shocking and you just know that it’s something you can only handle in small doses.
Because it can be emotionally draining, traumatic, and downright upsetting.
There are genres of books and films where you can expect some level of shock value, and you can somewhat prepare yourself (Examples: Psychological Thriller, Horror, fact-based stories to name a few.). But there are other genres that if you inject something to act as a shock factor, you’d lose readers forever because this was not something they were prepared to read about (Romance is one in particular).
So, should you use the shock factor in every story you write?
No, but it really depends on the type of story you’re writing and the kind of author you are. With Stephen King’s stories, you can expect just about anything from him as his stories tend not to have happy endings.
What are your thoughts about including (or not) shock value in your stories?
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