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The Line

There’s been an interesting conversation happening around the watercooler at work this week. Where is the line? The line in question, what is too much, is one I’ve thought about a lot as a writer.

I can tell you the exact scene when “Game of Thrones” became too much. That one moment when I turned it off and never turned it back on. I lost all interest in reading the series, despite continued assurance from my reading friends that it is worth it. (In fairness, I made it to the end of that season, but the show had lost its appeal.)

As I take a break from writing the third installment of the “Retribution” series to pen this, I am hyper aware that darkness is a part of that series. Immortals, just like humans, can harm each other terribly.

So, much like the question in writing of do you leave the bedroom door open or not, I am left with the question – in the depths of pain and suffering, when do you close the door?

I realize that once upon a time in human history, a family would take a picnic basket to the town square for a fun-filled day of watching convicts hang. Our arguments about gratuitous violence do not fall far from the historical tree. Yet, that doesn’t make today’s over-the-top, one-upmanship on television and movies any better.

Sometimes, visual violence is important, necessary even. I find myself more frequently asking myself, when?

I don’t have the answer. I suspect the answer will be different for each of us. Many of my friends wait impatiently for the next season of Game of Thrones.

For myself, my only truth is to stay true to myself. Knowing what is and is not too far for me is imperative to my honesty as a writer. The line may change. Today, I’m dealing with a storyline I never imagined would be part of this book series. The characters proved me wrong, pushing me to look at the scars left behind by unmentionable acts.

I imagine as long as I continue to question myself I am on the right path. Standing still is equivalent to moving backward. Question myself, challenge myself, and be able to verbalize why this is my line. For now, it lies in Game of Thrones, season three, episode three.

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