Simply Roseanna's picture
Simply Roseanna from CA is reading Elements of Style January 5, 2017 - 8:06am

Normally I write along the lines of kids stories or funny romantic comedies. Today is different.  There is a contest I want to write for and my story concept is dark.  I'm not use to writing about violence.  I find myself wiring a few sentences and needing to step away because the mood is just so..... strong.

Anyone else have this issue?  I mean I actually am making myself sad writing this out but it's a story I've been wanting to finish for a longtime.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 5, 2017 - 2:59pm

It sounds like you're doing it right. With any luck your audience will be as moved.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. January 5, 2017 - 3:30pm

Hi. Gail here. I have a difficult time writing about violence. It is rough. Rough for me to read as well. I am reading Benjamin Percy's Essays of Fiction. It is called THRILL ME. He talks a lot about writing about violence. He gave me a little bit different an angle from which to consider the possibilities. He has a chapter, I think it is about chapter three, and it is titled "There Will Be Blood, Writing Violence". IT discusses the nature of "obscene" which the literal meaning is literally, offstage. The whole discussion is about what the reader sees and what they don't and to what puropse. So, for the story it is sometimes better to have the violence happen offstage, and sometimes onstage, depends upon the piece. Violence that happens offstage is just as violent, but the choice is made to tell about it instead of show it....anyway the discusssion he has is really good. I highly recommend the book, since so much of the violence in fashionable writing is pretty graphic, but is not necessarily any more shocking or effective than a more subtle approach, that allows the reader to construct the scene in their imagination....Either way it is a very important discusssion.

When I read fiction, I am trusting the writer to take me on a journey. It has to be authentic, and violence is the great leveler of the human experience. Each person who confronts and copes or perpetrates violence is down to the very nitty gritty of who they are, which is why it is such a powerful literary experience.

I have resolved, not to avoid it as I have been doing in the range of human behavior, but to acknowlege and begin to cope with it. I may never want to write a lot of violent stuff, but to ignore it is the same as ignoring, sexuality or empathy, so I have been having an inner conversation....highly recommmend this book and chapter on the subject....gsr


Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from Northern California is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien January 5, 2017 - 10:37pm

Thanks for this post Gail. Gonna buy that book!

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman January 6, 2017 - 12:06pm

I just picked up the same book on a whim at the library! Small world.

I was working on a piece, and I often found myself sad when I finished working for the day. What I found helpful was to create a ritual for myself, one that I did before I started and after I finished. Mine was eating orange Jolly Ranchers (which I'm told are disgusting, but I LOVE them). It was sort of like swallowing the pill in the Matrix. You pop in a Jolly Rancher, start working, and then you have another when you're finished to remind yourself "Okay, I'm me, not this work."

It can be a smell, a taste, a body movement, taking a shower, whatever. It can be a different thing to start and finish too. The thing doesn't matter so much as doing the thing before and after, getting yourself ready and then making a clean break from the work.

Hope that helps!

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 6, 2017 - 2:27pm


Anyone else get excited when they write something horrendous? To me, if I've crafted something I really think is good, or more importantly, will really have a strong reaction in a reader, I'm stoked as hell.