Writing the Hard Stuff

Torture, death, sadness, abuse, self-mutilation, depression. The best way to make a reader want to keep reading is to create undue stress on your characters through conflict. But what does that do to you as a writer writing that torturous conflict?

For me, I pull from my own experiences: both personally experienced and seen through others’ eyes. The “best” conflict in stories are the most emotional. Writing these scenes can be draining. For me, they really are.

Recently, I’ve finally opened up as an artist and written a number of emotionally charged conflict scenes. I cry while I write them. I have to take breaks and walk around to regroup my thoughts. And I absolutely NEVER write the hard stuff when someone could walk in and see me balling over a fictional piece I’m writing. I’m a boy, after all.

And boys don’t cry…or at least that’s what Robert Smith said.

I write often. And try to write a lot. Working 40 hours a week (not connected to my writing) and volunteering 20 hours a month makes writing 5,000 words a day impractical. But I do manage about a thousand words a day.

When I butt up against a difficult scene. I drudge through it like a soldier. A sissy soldier that cries the whole time…but a soldier none the less because I don’t give up until I finish and I don’t back away from the conflict. However, when all is said and done, many times I won’t write for a week or more. I’m actually traumatized by the conflict I’ve written. The conflict I write is so wrapped in personal experiences that I re-traumatize myself.

I recoil into books. I read until I cannot read anymore. And then I read some more.

I can only hope these scenes are as emotional for the reader as they are for me.

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