How much gore is too much gore?

So I’m writing a fantasy story and it has lots of gore. Of course it’s mature. My question is how much is too much?

Honestly, I think that that depends on what you think. You could try posting the story and putting a question at the end of the first part, asking if the story had too much or too little gore. You can then use reader feedback to determine what you should change.

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If I start skim reading it, it’s probably too much.

It can be easy to get bored of gore eventually, and that’s usually when its so liberally thrown about that the story is more of a blood and organ fest than actual plot. (Saw, I’m looking at you). Also, if the reader is taken out of the story, or their suspension of belief is broken, that’s probably a good time to dial it down.


That’s very subjective.

If it’s gore meant purely for shock value, then it might be too much because it doesn’t serve a purpose. (It’s just gratuitous and visceral, and you could probably save some words by making the details more vague.)

If it’s gore because, well, that’s the reality of the book you’re writing and it’s reflecting the character’s current mentality, then I think it’s fine. (Like, for instance, the character is in the middle of battle and he’s very green. He might notice those details more than the seasoned brute who would just be like. “Yeah, that’s a dismembered head. What of it?”)


I fairly explicitely show all the details of a public decapitation, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

It isn’t a question of how much. It’s a question of why. The Walking Dead oozes gore, but each dribble exists for a reason. If someone gets cut, they are going to bleed.

“Blood spouted from the gaping wound” versus poured, oozed,ran etc. Which one actually fits the action that caused it? If it makes sense, then go for it. If you are layering it on just to make the story sound better, you are screwing yourself over, in my humble opinion. The focus should always be the story, not the gore. Keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.


I think gore is fine, especially if you’re using it for say… the end of a fight scene or just to describe a setting in general. the more graphic the gore, the better.


There really isn’t a hard line, but if you mention global warming, inventing the internet, and reclusive liberals wandering the Pacific Northeast all in one chapter, I’d say you have way too much Gore. Even a mature rating isn’t going to save you then. :upside_down_face:


I think that depends on the story you’re writing and the situation that the gore would appear in. Like others have mentioned before, if the gore’s just there for the shock value then I think you can afford tone it down so that the readers don’t get turned off immediately or desensitized to it when it really matters. If the gore has a reasoning and depth to it people will be more likely to actually read it and let it take its intended effect. You can’t cater to everyone (especially not when it comes to things like gore), so don’t worry about fitting into an imaginary reader’s comfort level and go with what the story requires!

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If I were to look at my writing and wonder, “How much gore is too much gore?” then, perhaps, a red flag would go up.

There’s no problem with large amounts of violence, per se, but gore in itself—all the messy details—often gets repetitive quickly. There’s only so many ways to describe blood splatter and entrails. Often, the hint of gore alone, a brief splash of viscera upon a wall, is all that is required for an action scene. The violence is implied. So it can be useful. The opposite holds true as well: “With a swipe, Prince Tom’s head rolled across the dining table. A serving girl screamed; she was new.” Simple and clean. The reader fills in the rest. Writers are trying more for atmosphere and mood than a picture-perfect depiction of events.

Also, too much gore and it gets to the point of satire (a la American Psycho), which if you’re going for a serious tone can defeat it. The two most violent books which come to mind are Moby-Dick (which most would seldom consider violent because it’s all directed at whales, but the description of their harvesting is quite unsettling) and Blood Meridian, which is shockingly brutal. It’s probably the best depiction of gore which is both disturbing and handled properly. (Even still, it has the good taste to only hint at what the Judge does with those missing children.)

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