Imagine if we all solved our problems with violence? Or if even a fraction of the number of people were murdered by serial killers every week as procedural dramas would have us believe.
Or if our daily commute was constantly being interrupted by car chases and superhero battles? What kind of world would that look like? What kind of society would we be? Violence is a choice, as is including it in a fictional narrative.
 Please note, this isn’t to dismiss the real threat of institutionalized violence that women, people of color, and the queer/trans communities experience daily in the United States, but these articles are meant to get you thinking about writing. There are plenty of other people discussing the current political climate better than I ever could that I would encourage you to find if you’re interested in learning more.
Again, that’s not to say that it can’t be an effective tool in your storytelling kit, but violence--along with every other element of your story--should still serve a purpose. Violence for the sake of violence is inherently less interesting than violence serving a purpose. Even the Joker, despite his claims of chaos, has reasons for what he does and can occasionally recognize when the joke has gone too far.
And this isn’t me trying to draw some kind of bullshit link between violence in media making kids violent or anything. People have been killing each other long before Ignatz clocked Krazy Kat in the head with a brick or video games evolved from Pong to Street Fighter. This is a thought exercise in the obligation of morality as a creator.
How necessary is violence to your story? Narratively speaking, I mean. We all know that a super flashy final boss battle can be both visually rad and fill the audience with a swell of triumph, but if every story ended with an epic fight, they might start to feel… repetitive. And if you’re busy mimicking your favorite superhero comic or shonen manga, you might not stop to think about what themes, tropes, and pitfalls you might be reiterating without really considering what that means for your story personally.
So what does the violence in your story contribute to the narrative? Are you instigating a conversation with the audience? Are you staging an epic revenge fantasy to demonstrate the slippery slope of morality? Or are you just punishing your characters needlessly for the bloodthirsty amusement of your spectators?
Who even is your audience? Who are you trying to appeal to? Who are you trying to engage with through the lens of your story? And what do you hope they will remember when they look away? That an action sequence was fun and cool? That the art was really well done? Or maybe what that fight meant for your characters? What was gained and what was lost? And where do your characters go from here?
Look, I’m not trying to tell you not to make the story you want to make, blood, guts and whatever else. I’m just saying it never hurts to be really sure that every moment in your story is doing more than just “looking cool” and instead is helping you build a powerful and impactful narrative--with or without violence.