Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Indecisiveness Can Mortally Wound A Story

There have been times during the course of my writing career, where it's been rather difficult and sticky when it comes to writing certain kinds of scenes.

Early on, I used to have no problem in writing scenes of violence, sometimes the stupider it was, the easier it was to write.

"She hauled him out of the back seat until his head was hanging outside, then picked up a telephone book and whacked him upside the head until blood geyesered all over the garage floor."

Now on flip side of the equation, writing scenes with sex of any kind was to say the very least, difficult. Why difficult? Well, unless you've been writing those kind of scenes for a while, the first half dozen attempts made wind up reading like a bad porn script.

gotcha, no sample here. i really need to keep this blog R-rated and not NC-17

Over the preceding six plus years, I slowly weaned myself from writing heavy scenes of violence and slowly began working on improving the various types of sexual situations that my stories visit. Why? The main reason was that writing scenes of violence was becoming too easy and frighteningly realistic for me, and I didn't want to make my stuff so disturbing that people would have 2nd, 3rd and 4th thoughts about me not only as a writer, but as a person as well.

By 2012, the violence in my writing become tempered enough for me not to cringe while reading it afterwards (imagine that, a writer cringing while reading their own writing), so I'm giving myself a big pat on the back for a job well done.

But.....the long long fickle finger of fate reached out and tapped a cold fingertip on the top of my head and proceeded to shuffle my conscience around to the point of indecisiveness.

To whit:

The story that I'm currently writing, "Time To Go" has such a particular level of violence in it that it actually bothers me to write it. Because the underlying theme is surviving with two serial killers, it necessitates me showing what it is exactly they do. And thus, here lies the rub: in order to make the story as realistic as possible, I have to write scenes that I find personally repulsive.

And because I have to write those particular scenes, I'm thinking very long and very hard as to how and when I should write them. I really don't want to put this story away because it's just begging to be written, but I'm growing increasingly uncomfortable in writing those particular scenes.

So it begs the question, "How do I reconcile these increasingly irreconcilable differences?"

I really do want to write this story because I actually enjoy exploring the dark side of people, and this one really does explore a person's ethical dilemma in ways that no one should ever experience.


  1. I think most good writers cringe when they read their own writing at least on occasion...when I worked at a publishing company, only the really terrible writers thought they were God's gift to literacy.

    That is an interesting dilemma.

  2. M: It may be an interesting dilemma, but its a dilemma I'm not too thrilled to have.

    Mostly I've cringed while reading some of my early stuff, 'cause it was just so blatantly bad that it boggles me to this day that I actually submitted some of that stuff as is.

    Cringing at my current stuff is something I'm not happy about at all.

  3. LMAO oh reading some of my earlier stuff I cringe like crazy, the grammar and set up was just so bad.

    I think as long as it works for the story use it.

  4. Pat: Unfortunately, that seems to be the case. Under any kind of normal circumstances, what I'm putting into this story wouldn't even show it's face, let alone be put to something I'm writing.

    About the only time I don't cringe on rotten writing is when I purposely write rotten for my blog.

  5. I have written some scenes that repulsed me, but only in horror fiction. and there it seemed...necessary. I guess there's the rub. hard to decide exactly what is necessary and what is prurient.

  6. I have a friend who is a crime fiction writer (I've mentioned before, I think) and she is this mild woman with a great sense of humor, who you can't imagine would write some of the things she has written. Just be true to your inner writer and it will pour out.

  7. Charles: Exactly.

    I'm at the point where before I write a particular scene, I actually spend about a day thinking asking myself, "Is it necessary or can it be pitched?"

    For one key scene, I spent about a week thinking about it, looking for that fine line between just enough and way over the top.

    Lynn: I try to be true to my inner self and even though the words do coming flowing out with an ease not seen since I wrote Line 21, it still bugs the crap out of me.

  8. I admit I haven't written graphic violence that bothers me yet- I suppose I should try it sometime!
    Well I write alot of children stuff- n non-fictional stuff.
    Must be difficult!

  9. Snaggle: I normally don't write gratitious violence as I've long sinced retooled my writing to deemphasize that, but because of the topic that this story covers, I have to, and that's what bothers me the most.

  10. Have you considered taking advantage of the old saw "show less and leave more to the imagination"? Vague allusions to violent occurrences is sometimes more effetive than graphic explanations...not always but sometimes.

  11. Darth: This is very true. I have given it some thought, and it might happen for the rest of the story.

    In order for the reader to get a basic feel for what this woman is going through (for it is a woman), I had to show in graphic detail what kind of depravity these two killers were performing.

    I'm thinking that the worst of it is over, but one can never tell.


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