1. KatieK
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    KatieK New Member

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    Every time I try to write, the story gets too dark

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by KatieK, Oct 9, 2014.

    I'm dealing with a lot in my life right now, so I want writing to be a distraction for me. Every story that I start quickly turns down the most dark, harrowing path imaginable. Any ideas on how to write something that feels real, but won't depress me and anyone who reads it?
     
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  2. Empty Bird
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    Empty Bird Member

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    Start reading happy books! Or at least books that make you feel all tingly and happy inside after reading them.

    Watch movies, do things that are enjoyable- don't spend too much time alone wallowing in your thoughts. It's important to stay as active as you possibly can and then leave time for writing. Using writing as a distraction can sometimes be a doible edged sword. In some ways, it's marvelous because you're spilling all your thoughts out onto a page, but in another way, writing is introspective, it recquires you to think. Writing uses how you feel at that moment in time.

    I'm sorry to hear that you've been having a bad time in life, and I sincerely hope that everything gets better for you! Do your absolute best and may everything become brighter in time. :)
     
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  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've read about an author who was trying to write an upbeat scene, but it just kept coming out tearful and depressing. Then she thought about the music that she had playing in the background (she always wrote with music playing) and realised that it was a pretty depressing piece...put on something light and upbeat, and...bingo!
     
  4. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    People like to have an emotional response to what they read. If I were you, I would just make things as dark as possible.
     
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  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Jonah, Katie is trying to avoid depressing herself...depressing other readers would be collateral damage.
     
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  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I wrote my first attempt at a novel at a time in my life when I was dealing with a lot of difficult issues and writing about "dark" things came easily. I think it is natural for one's writing to reflect one's mood, and it's probably healthy, even therapeutic, to give voice to that. It won't satisfy your aim of using writing as a distraction (as noted above, reading is better for that), but it will allow you to express what you're feeling. When I read about how Robin Williams battled depression, I wondered if his need to be funny, be happy, always the smiling clown, cheering everyone else up while keeping his own hurt buried, was the root cause.

    I hope things turn around for you soon.
     
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  7. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    So writers of tear-jerkers and horror are doing something wrong in the world?

    I think your writing is a low priority as a solution to your depression. Anti-depressants and cognitive-behavioural therapy would be more effective.
     
  8. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    Writing can be cathartic. Like any art, it expresses the emotions, and can take a person down dark places, yes, but it can also open out into brighter worlds if you peservere. It is why horror stories have been so successful, despite the most obvious purpose being to terrify. It's that ability to place yourself, and the reader into horrific situations, knowing that at the end of the day the Devil will put down his fiddle and you will have survived the experience. Some of the best works of fiction have been written by people in 'dark places' or severe mental health issues. They don't hold back.

    Suppressing this might not be a good thing as much as expressing it might be bad. It's about it how it feels to you. If all you can write is angsty, depressive madness, without any hint of optimism, you might have a point. If there is something in the story, however dark, that's revelatory, an epiphany or something that brings the main character into brighter times, I would continue writing it. As writers we can reflect our personal lives in the text, in positive ways, and if there aren't always answers in what we've written, just shouting out the questions can bring some relief.
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Jonah,

    I'm merely pointing out the Original Post was for ideas on writing something happier than what seems to come naturally.

    Those who write what they choose (you example tear-jerkers and horror) MAY have a problem...then again, they may just have vivid imaginations (let's hope so!)

    Professional help may be beneficial. Without knowing more about Katie's situation we cannot know, and are probably unqualified to prescribe.
     
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  10. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    I agree. Writing about your troubles can be cathartic. Trying to avoid them could potentially intensify them.
     
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  11. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Actually, you should just follow the flow. You could be the next best dark novelist.
     
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  12. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    I had that issue before as well, and was in a dark writing slump for a long time. Give it some time, think it over. But conflict does occur. Try writing as a character who tries to view things in a positive light despite how dark things can get around them. It may help.
     
  13. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm going through some things myself and battle depression. I try to keep upbeat by keeping my thoughts positive, my words positive, and surrounding myself with things I like - a funny movie, a good book, prayer. And doing things I like - walking, making soup from scratch, drawing. As for writing - sometimes it's healthy to get everything out maybe switch to poems and really focus on transforming those feelings into works of art.
     
  14. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Reading is better as a distraction - find something funny to read. For me, when I was going through a horribly lonely year in London, I read Sophie Kinsella. She actually got me back into reading after not really reading for about 4 years (I read the odd book here and there during that time but I'd stopped reading in general). Kinsella is this really stupid, silly chick lit and it just makes me laugh out loud when I read it. That's what I needed then. Nothing thought-provoking or heavy or dark - just light, silly, stupid humour. It kept me sane I think.

    Everyone thinks Terry Pratchett is a comedic genius - maybe try him.

    As for writing - I wouldn't force yourself to write something light when you're not feeling it. Just write what comes and maybe exploit it in some way. Can you use any of the dark stuff you're writing in a story? Somehow add some realism and depth to a character's struggle? Maybe if you gave all that darkness a meaningful purpose - eg. that of enriching your own book - it could be helpful too. A way of channelling all that energy into something useful.

    Another thing, not reading or writing related. I'd encourage you to go do some gentle exercise everyday. Playing sports releases happy hormones and helps you balance your mood, as well as let out the pent up energy and therefore relieve emotional tension. It won't solve your problems, but it might be a way to let some of that sadness and anger out and might make you feel better.

    I have also heard singing has the same cathartic effect.

    Basically, don't ignore what you're feeling. Don't try to bury it. Rather, give it an outlet - through something safe. Somehow turn it into something productive for you. All that emotion will stay inside you - ignoring it just means it's gonna fester. So I'd advice finding some form of expression for it that gives you relief, whatever that might be.

    I'd say find something you love and do it for a while - perhaps it could be something you used to love but for whatever reason you've stopped since, and would like to pick up again. I'd take now as the opportunity to revive anything you used to love.

    All the best to you. Hope you feel better soon. Hugs.
     
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  15. KatieK
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    KatieK New Member

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    I would like to point out that I am not asking about depression. There is a difference between depression and grieving, yes?
     
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  16. KatieK
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    KatieK New Member

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    Thank you for all of your replies. This is my first post, and I'm amazed at the supportiveness of this community!
    Anyways, in a way it is nice to have all sorts of negative emotions easily accessible for my characters, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by dealing with them. I do realize how unhealthy it can be to ignore these feelings, though. I suppose I will take it one step at a time. Maybe writing, instead of a distraction, is the tool I need to get through the grieving process.
    Thank you again for your replies :)
     
  17. KatieK
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    KatieK New Member

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    One of the best writers I've ever known suffered from severe depression, but had the most incredible imagination. It was incredible, the things he could come up with. And thank you, I would like to reiterate that I am not depressed. I am grieving.
     
  18. KatieK
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    KatieK New Member

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    I will try Kinsella, thank you, it sounds like a good distraction :) . And yes, that's what I was trying to do, but it got out of hand pretty quickly. I have a lot of emotions that I've been putting off processing, so I'm a bit intimidated, but I know that burying them is no solution. Thank you :)
     
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  19. KatieK
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    KatieK New Member

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    When you wrote that novel, did it help you to process your emotions, or did staring at them all on a page make them feel more real? Is there anything that I could do to write from what I'm feeling without...I don't know. I know that I need to grieve, but I worry that if I deal with everything at once I might become clinically depressed. My problems are far from over.
    It may have been his way of distracting himself, of being somebody that he actually wanted to be. Of course, I don't know Robin Williams, but I do know that not facing your emotions can make them get really out of hand.
    Thank you.
     
  20. KatieK
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    KatieK New Member

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    You are right about writing. It's impossible, for me anyways, to not write what it is really going on. Ugh. Thank you, so do I :)
     
  21. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I wasn't dealing with grief (and I am very sorry for your loss), I was dealing with intense pressure and the emotional stress of raising two children with developmental disabilities. I found the situations of my characters to be very different than mine, and so I could connect with the negative emotions without being dragged down by them. So, I would write about serious issues, just not the ones you are dealing with.
     
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  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Turn on the light.

    Seriously, though, you probably need to examine your own outlook on life. That darkness not only comes from within, it's dominating you if you can't even consciously override it in your writing.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    When I'm feeling particularly bad, I look for someone worse off than me and my troubles look a whole lot more manageable in that light. My problems are so trivial compared to a person living in Liberia or Syria right now.
     
  24. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    Darkness is easy to write unfortunately.
     
  25. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    You read what you enjoy, and write what you know. If you know dark, then your story will be dark. I write horror, but I watch Rom-coms. (I can't write one of those though. I'm too cynical.) Many readers like dark. Embrace your dark. Who knows, your story might be great.
     

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