Monday, January 25, 2010

Writing what you hate

If you're anything like me then you've read books and watched movies that have disturbed you. It might've been covering your eyes at a horror flick with a gruesome murder or reading a gritty memoir with a rape scene that had your insides twisted up like a knot. Some people like this sort of thing. I do not. The older I get and the fact that I'm now a mother have really emphasized that opinion. I can't help but think what it would be like if that happened to my child or anyone I loved. Heck, even me. A movie I watched a couple of weeks ago really had me shaken up. It was sick, disturbing, and worse yet, based on a true story. Ugh. I went to bed with a stomach ache.

All of this got the writer part of me thinking: How do people write these sort of stories or scenes? I can see when it's in a way that might be beneficial for the reader or writer to share an experience that can help heal etc. But what about the other stuff?

In my current WIP my main character is going to have to suffer through some pretty harsh situations. Losing people she loves, killing someone with her own hands, and more. This is new ground for me and I'm a little nervous to get so dark and twisty. My first novel has some dark stuff but not at the hands of my MC so I didn't have to get into her head while it was happening. But this new girl is one bad ass chick who's going to land herself in a whole lot of trouble. So I had better get comfortable with the dark side. But even this dark side isn't all that dark. Not compared to some of what I've seen out there. Still, I'm psyched to head in a new direction and learn more about and challenge myself, both as a writer, and as a human being. Just don't expect anything TOO creepy in a real life sort of way.

What about all of you...

Have you ever written something extremely dark or disturbing? Did you find it difficult?


Little Ms J said...

My first manuscript was my coming of age memoir, so there were some dark things that were very hard for me to write. You have to get into a pretty low place to relive some of the things that makes a memoir worth reading.

Susan R. Mills said...

I've never written anything dark as far as my mc's actions. I have had people murdered, though.

jessjordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jessjordan said...

I freak out about writing the dark stuff. I'm such a baby, in fact, that my stomach gets all knotted when I have to write about cheating boyfriends or girlfriends, much less murder and violence and stuff like that.

The dark is a scary place to go (hello, Heath Ledger in Batman ... totally creepy and damn ... that didn't end well). I admire those who do it so beautifully (big shout out to Ellen Hopkins and Elizabeth Scott, for example), and I'm fascinated by writers that can pull off the demons in such a fascinating way. I'm drawn to the twisted.

What does that say about me?

On second thought, don't answer that.

Lizzy Mason said...

An excellent question, Rebecca! Particularly because I just started a new WIP about a really difficult subject. There's going to be a lot of disturbing scenes in this one. The other night I wrote a scene that left me pretty shaken while I wondered "What kind of mind do I have that I can create something like this?!"

But I know it's a topic that needs to be discussed. And I'm really hoping I can do it justice!