What is a ‘blood and guts’ scene?

In storytelling, plot and characters are entwined to the point that one really could not exist without the other. Arguably, a story centers on the protagonist (character) solving a problem (plot). A story doesn’t exist if there’s if there’s no character attempting to solve a problem or if the character has no problem to solve.

In some stories – especially action-adventure and space opera pieces – how the protagonist must resolve the problem requires that he become primal. In short, the character is “stripped of convention, artifice and propriety,” according to CSFW’s David Smith. Such an event in a story is nicknamed a blood and guts scene, a term that Smith coined.

A good example of a blood and guts scene in modern storytelling is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the movie “Predator,” when he is forced to take on the alien alone. He covers himself in mud (to mask himself from the alien’s ability to spot heat via infrared) and relies purely on his animal instincts to carry the day.

Literary works also sometimes makes use of blood and guts scene. The climax of Stephen Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage” essentially shows the protagonist becoming primal so he can garner the courage to live through the battle.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.