1. icescreamy
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    icescreamy Member

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    Would you write about something that is uncomfortable

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by icescreamy, Apr 4, 2012.

    I would like to ask if you would write about a topic that you feel uncomfortable with. I have some ideas for stories, mainly fiction but my usual writing style if fantasy/comedy and my idea borders on action and touches on a topic that I would feel self conscious and embarrassed discussing in real life. I wonder if I should just drop it and concentrate on writing what I am used to or try to write it anyway.

    Thanks
     
  2. UrbanBanshee
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    UrbanBanshee Member

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    I say I definitely would do it. Pushing past your comfort zones can help you grow as a writer. There are a few things I don't like to say out loud about my story because it embarrasses me, but I won't change my story for that reason.
     
  3. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    People always wonder how to make a story or a scene truely memorable/touching...? One way of doing it is to write till you feel uncomfortable, sort of writing till you reach the deepest truth. This is sometimes used as a writing exercise in fiction writing classes.
     
  4. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I would do it. If there's something I love is passing salt in the wound... I talk mostly of things that make me uncomfortable, because they really affected the way I am today, and it's something I have to face to grow as a person.
    Every single idea for a story I had came from things that make me uneasy. Even if I haven't lived that long.
     
  5. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I somehow can't think of anything I would be uncomfortable writing about... is that good or bad I wonder. I dabble with different genres and topics all the time.
     
  6. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    I would not write something just to make people uncomfortable but I have no problem writing about topics that are uncomfortable for many people to discuss.
     
  7. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I'm thinking about writing a book where liberals become the last remaining life form.

    The book ends in tragedy. The entire liberal species dies out when all transportation ceases, as the highways are blocked by vehicles with flat tires that no one knows how to change. In a panic they all find out at once that since taxes have spiraled out of control, there are no descretionary funds to hire a blue collar tire guy, even if one existed.

    One by one they all die slow agonizing deaths. Food and medicine are gone, and since no one owns a handgun they cannot commit suicide.

    The final scene depicts a desiccated college professor nibbling on the last piece of biscotti on the planet, empty cup in one hand, and the other hand ringing the service bell in vain, crying out for a union barista long dead millenia before...

    The epilogue descibes an alien space craft lightly touching down as the egress ramp descends from the belly of the ship. Two life forms stand on the barren land--handsome, chisel-featured Adonis-like marvels, resplendant in leather, bearing their emblem, the "bar and shield."

    One speaks the last line, "Well, Scratchy Scrote, it looks like your plan worked."

    A large V-twin engine is heard firing up in the service bay of the craft.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I suppose it depends on what the subject matter is. There are things I don't have a problem writing about, because that's what the story demands, and I don't care what others think. They're not writing the story.

    However, there are things I am a bit iffy about. Mostly because I lack the experience required (say...a sex scene), or I feel it's overdone and cliched (say...a story about a sympathetic Nazi who realized what he was doing was wrong, and attempts to make amends), or because I feel it will open a crapton of controversy (say...a story set in Antebellum South on a slave plantation where the son of the plantation owner wants to know what its like to be a slave, so he sneaks out by night to their quarters to listen to their stories, and the whole climax involves the son trying to help a group of them escape his father and goons who are coming after them all)

    Are they all easily doable? Sure. However, as a newbie writer, I don't think something like that should be the first thing I do, especially scenario 2 and 3. Perhaps decades from now, when I'm older and have a bit more wisdom, and have a number of books under my belt, I'll attempt it.


    Or, I might not. Who knows?
     
  9. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    If I were writing about something uncomfortable, I would make it also uncomfortable to the viewpoint character, so that if any uncomfortableness shows in my words, it would be genuine and it would come from the MC. I do occasionally write about uncomfortable topics.
     
  10. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    I wrote a story once that had themes / situations which made me feel uncomfortable, to the point that I didn't want to write it.

    I finished it, though, and it's my favorite story to date.
     
  11. NeedMoreRage
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    NeedMoreRage Member

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    The only things I feel uncomfortable writing about are myself and people I know in real life; since I will never write any books about those topics, I think that shows that I won't write about topics that make me uncomfortable. I would not enjoying doing so.
     
  12. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Personally, go ahead and write it. Discomfort is not going to stop me from writing a topic. There is a reason why I'm uncomfortable with the theme/topic, and like Jack, letting that flow into the writing tends to actually work for what I'm doing.
     
  13. GeorgiaB
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    GeorgiaB Member

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    I struggle with this a lot. Specifically lately when my writing addresses race/culture. I grow worried that I'm not doing the topic justice, that I'm writing in a cliched or insensitive way, that I don't know what I'm talking about, that somehow I'm reinforcing stereotypes. I have a judgmental little voice in my head telling me that I am not capable of writing about this topic even though I've grown up in this world and I've paid attention to the people around me for many, many years. And I've taken Cultural Awareness classes, actually, but that probably doesn't mean much! I think this all goes back to my old jobs, where race was a particularly hard barrier for me to cross when working with other people, and our differences were startling sometimes. Of course, this is probably why it is an attractive theme for me. I would like to read like I'm not just trying to understand, but that I do understand. And then I wonder if that is possible.

    I also have worries about my mother (who is about the most supportive person in the world), other family, and friends reading my writing one day and seeing me differently, or making me feel embarrassed about my topic of choice (for example, teenage sex). My plot will start going towards something like suicide, for example, and then I'll second guess myself because there was a suicide recently in my family and I worry that IF I ever get published, this would be a problem. I hope to be honest -- when writing young adult fiction, honesty is imperative!!

    So, you are not alone. I swear, I don't worry as much as I made it sound. But I think this is probably the biggest challenge I face personally as a writer, and there are many! It's certainly not helpful, and I'm working on it. I need to stop caring about what other people think, especially if right now I control who reads what, anyway. :)

    Georgia
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every story I write, there are aspects that I don't feel comfortable with. I think it is impossible to avoid that. I would never make something I am intensely uncomfortable with, my main theme, but I think facing our own issues when we write is a good thing and well-worth challenging yourself over. As long as there are lots of other rewards during the writing process.
     
  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I say go for it. What's the worst that can happen? You don't try to publish it afterwards, or only show it to select friends or something. You can't lose nothing by doing it and might gain a lot by trying it.

    As for myself, I'm working on my first ever novel so I can't say whether I've written things that make me comfortable/uncomfortable as yet. But there's little that would make me feel "uncomfortable". There'll be sensitive or challenging topics - for example I have one brewing about forgiveness, and redemption for an abusive mother or criminal, taking the POV of a failed mother who wants to right things long after her son's got into crime. Some may say such people don't "deserve" forgiveness - it'd certainly offend some I know - but I DO think they can have forgiveness and that forgiveness is something nobody ever "deserves". This comes from my Christian background and it'd be a challenge to write, but with an important message. Therefore, I don't care who it offends, because I believe in the message I'm trying to convey.

    Another less deep, more "for fun" kinda story I have is actually sci-fi story that's very political - but I like neither sci-fi nor politics, and have little understanding of either topic. I'm gonna write it anyway. It'd be uncomfortable in the sense that I'm unfamiliar with it, but it'd sure be fun to try!
     
  16. Zosan
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    Zosan New Member

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    I say write outside your comfort zone. If you get too comfortable with writing what you know, you might hit a brick wall and think you've done it all. Writing outside that comfort zone opens the door to new boundaries and challenges. Challenges is something that makes life exciting, you know. If you are willing to try something in your life outside of writing, knowing that you have never done it before and that it could be dangerous, then why not do that with your writing? The only difference in the two is that your writing can be edited and ultimately stopped when you've reached the point where you think you can't go any further. Life not so much. Still even if it is for your eyes only try it.

    Think of it as a testament to how far you've progressed as a writer. Maybe it will show some weak points that you did not realize were there and offer you the chance to observe, fix, and strengthen. Not to mention, new challenges feed creativity, which could lead to your next successful piece. Doesn't that give you chills of excitement?
     
  17. icescreamy
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    icescreamy Member

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    Thanks for the replies and the encouragement. I will post my story here after I completed two reviews. I have written it yesterday but deleted it at the last minute as I felt self conscious, what a waste.
     
  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    OMG! WHY!? Please tell us you've got a back-up! Otherwise you'll have to write the whole thing all over again!
     
  19. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    This is why I like word-programs but hate computers in general.

    When I get a glimmer, I scroll way down to the bottom of the story, and several pages below that last thing I wrote. I might get an idea for a catchy phrase, or a creative insight. Granted, it's not fully formed, perhaps needs to be tweaked later for continuity.

    But you'd be amazed at how many of those paragraphs make it into the body of the story. One morning I felt decidedly evil and duplicitous--the two best ways to describe one of my main ancillary characters.

    That character had to give an orientation speech to a group of fresh-faced young students. I mean, I poured out the lies and the venom by the bucket!

    With only minor revisions, that speech made it into the story.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's nothing i'd feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk about, so i can't answer your question on a personal level...

    but i'd have to assume that if you feel that way about some topic, then you probably won't be able to do a good job writing about it, either... doesn't mean you shouldn't, but i would think you'd need to do a lot of research first, so your personal discomfort with it won't dis-color your writing...
     
  21. icescreamy
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    icescreamy Member

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    I am writing it over again actually, but I consider it a good thing as I am now able to add some crucial parts to the story that I may have missed out otherwise, although I am considering saving all written work because typing it over again is time consuming indeed.
     
  22. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Does this apply to older writers or young writers too?
     
  23. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    There's 3 ways to look at it, really.

    1) If the topic makes you uncomfortable, it may also make other readers uncomfortable. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Being uncomfortable can make people think harder about the subject at hand, so you get your audience to think more. That is, generally speaking, a pretty good thing for a book to do. An accomplishment if you like.

    2) Perhaps you are blowing the "uncomfortable" aspect of the topic out of proportion - perhaps because you have some personal trauma associated with it - and the subject isn't actually nearly as uncomfortable to others as you think.

    3) The subject is uncomfortable to you, because it is highly "autobiographical" - i.e. when your friends and family read your writing, they will recognize that the uncomfortable thing is directly lifted from your own existence, and this will cause you or other people you know discomfort. If this is the case, I would recommend altering the uncomfortable subject to the point where it isn't easily recognized by others, and associated with you personally anymore.

    Also, in what way is the subject uncomfortable? Is it gross or distatesteful? Is it depressing? Is it claustrophobic or anxiety causing? Is it something that happened to you in real life and makes you feel really bad/sad just thinking about it?

    Remember that 99% of your readers won't share your personal traumas, and that everyone has a different tolerance for "uncomfortable" subjects.

    Some people can't read things that make them uncomfortable. They'll just put the book down without finishing it, or skip chapters/pages.

    Other people have a real high tolerance for that kind of stuff and actually seek it out.
     
  24. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I started on a story not too long ago, but besides the lack of plot (there wasn't enough to cover an entire novel) it also made me so uncomfortable that I gave up on it. I still wonder if I should have insisted in writing it, but I have it on my computer and can take it up again whenever I want to. Maybe some day I will, because I think, like others have said, that it would make me grow as a writer. I'm just not sure if I'm ready for that yet.
     

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