Friday, February 24, 2017

Mental Torture and Gnomebody's Business by James P. McDonald

Women in Horror Presents:

James P. McDonald

Mental Torture and Gnomebody’s Business

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.

Torture is always a difficult topic to decide how to use it and present it. My personal interests tend to go towards mental torture, even in scenes where some sort of physical abuse is happening. In one of my novellas, “Gnomebody’s Business” ( it’s the story about a relatively new agent being pulled into the world of gods, monsters and the supernatural. She also plays heavily in the “Home Summonings” Series.

This is a very tongue in cheek murder mystery. The idea is that someone is killing gnomes and turning them into garden statues.

But in the story, consider these ideas. She is a young female agent on her first solo case. One of the first things that happens is that to do the investigation, she’s shrunk down to their size. In terms of the story, this means she’s stripped naked, her weapons are too large for her to use, and she’s dropped into a strange world. All without any warning.

Now an outsider, and the clothes and tools she’s given really aren’t all that useful compared to the world to which she’s accustomed, all she has to rely on is herself, her skills, her training, and her wits. And all of this before she even starts to do her job.

Most of my major characters have tortured souls of one sort or another, if they have one. And if it isn’t at the start, I like to see where they break. And how they come out the other side.

So often, we see torture as being strapped to a table, probed with electrodes, sexual assault, physical assault, etc. If you study the aftermath of survivors, physical scars tend to be nothing more than reminders. It’s how our minds cope, and how we recover. I don’t believe in an act of torture as titillation or just to move the story along.

It has to help shape the character and the story. And typically, when I do it, it’s also about whether or not they chose to recover, or decide to celebrate and live in their pain.

As an aside, last year I was a contributor to “Hold On To The Light” which is over 100 Sci-Fi and fantasy authors on PTSD, depression, suicide and mental health. I’d suggest checking it out.

GIVEAWAY: Soon to be released are new covers for Books 1-3 in the Home Summoning Series, and an omnibus version. Anyone who signs up on my mailing list or sends me an e-mail with "Women in Horror" will get a free eBook version of Book 1!



Wendy Howard said...

Great post! Love how you described your book. Can't wait to read it.

Anne Hogue-Boucher said...

Eager to read all of your work. Got it on my wish list. I devoured the samples!

Naching Kassa said...

Fascinating, Jim!

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