Writing Tough Scenes

FFXIV Dead Monkey
Chopping up monsters is very cathartic.

When I tend to get tire of the world, in general, I bury myself in video games.

Any number of things can trigger this. It’s like a safety net I can retreat to and beat the ever-living shit out of pixels while not taking the stress out on real people.

When I write a difficult scene, I often have to take a break from the story. Violence done to the characters we create is something else on a level below our soul. We hurt ourselves when we write these scenes. Write is an extension of ourselves. It’s not an “other”, not outside of our experience. Writers, after write what we know.


You’ve heard stories. Whether it’s J. K. Rowling working on HP 5 and idling over the death of a character or George R. R. Martin writing any of his books (I’m not being snarky here), all authors bleed on the page. Not being nurses we tend to take a little too much.

After all, for a story to be interesting, there must be pain. No one wants to read about how happy and perfect things are. Readers want the seamy underbelly filled with worms. We don’t like it but we thrive on it. Without pain there is no story.

Between Kingdoms is dark fantasy. Everything that can go wrong in a despotic kingdom does. The women sent in to fix it does not have the tools to do so and she finds out she wasn’t expected to fix it, just sell herself as incentive for others to fix the problem. Unlike Dreamer’s War, the only noble goal is survival.

Why would want to tell such a horrible story? To get it out of my head, for one. I outline my stories. I know what’s going to happen. Yet, as I write the story takes on a life and find myself along for the ride. When I see the result of my plotting, I take pause. Anyone would do so. Then you write the scene and step back.

I wonder about the people who think violence of art begets violence of reality. Most of us are just as horrified we wrote those words, yet we want to know why. Writing is a way to explore humanity, to understand it. Fiction is a mirror of the world laid bare. And when laid bare, we can learn from it. When hidden, we act it out. Writers don’t hide in that sense. I’d rather learn than be a victim.

An examination of violence is critical to stopping. We cannot turn our faces from this, however, sometimes it’s good to take a break and look at rainbows. There is nothing wrong with rainbows.

Note: This post was set to show on the day of the shooting at the Century Theater in Aurora, Colorado. My condolences  and prayer’s to those caught up in the shooting. I’ve moved the post to later in the week. 


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