1. semolinaro
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    semolinaro New Member

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    Writing about things that disturb you

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by semolinaro, Mar 24, 2016.

    Just curious, does anyone write things that go beyond their comfort zone and leave you feeling icky and unsettled? I find it's an interesting way to make your writing more raw and evoke real emotions.

    I'm writing a scene in which my main character Noël is leading a small band of mercenaries on a mission. While being chased by the undead, one of the mercenaries is injured in the wagon, and Noël says that they need to ditch her off the wagon since her injuries can't be fixed and her weight will slow them down. Everyone is reluctant, including the injured woman, but in the end, they throw her off kicking and screaming as she falls victim to the undead.

    Just talking about it makes me feel upset! What are your thoughts on writing beyond your comfort zone?
     
  2. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    If these are armed mercenaries, wouldn't it be quicker and more merciful to kill her directly? (I guess she could be meant as a distraction to slow the undead down, but you don't even need a pre-injured character for that.)
     
  3. semolinaro
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    semolinaro New Member

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    True enough! Maybe they kill her and then throw her off. Either way, they need to get her off the wagon quickly to gain speed, and since she's no longer of use to their cause due to her injuries, she has to go.
     
  4. Gilganjun
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    Gilganjun New Member

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    I just happened to see The Revenant today, the 2015 Dicaprio version, which has a vaguely similar scenario to the one you've described as the main premise of the movie. Highly recommend it, by the way. :)

    Breaking out of comfort zone is a very important part of writing, in my opinion. Characters will make all sorts of questionable decisions, especially in times of extreme stress, fear and in scenarios where imminent survival hangs in the balance. It's the reality of life.

    In the real world, there are people who'll use children as a human shield from gunfire. The scenario you're proposing is sort of a variation of that, at least it's loosely connected if you know what I mean..
     
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  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Nothing too much disturbs me outside of torture - animal torture or human torture - I'm sort of done with horror movies just because of this. Abuse, rape, psychological stuff - I find it disturbing but on an easier level. I think because I knew a lot of damaged people, that over time the stories sadly became commonplace.

    The only stuff that takes me out of my comfort zone is tackling subjects like loneliness, identity issues and insanity.

    I'm writing a novella in between my WIP and in it the most disturbing thing about my mc so far is he considers a boy who beats him up his friend because he has no one else. And the boy is schizophrenic making him pretty pathetic himself - the only way he knows of making a friend is to hit him.
     
  6. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    *shrugs* needs to be dealt with. Either the story demands it or it doesn't.

    “It's an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater lustre to our colours, a richer resonance to our words."
    - Anne Rice

    One needn't describe in detail what the mind supplies. But as long as it is there in the back it will make itself heard.
     
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  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Makes sense from the writer of one of the most hardcore S&M, homosexual, Pony play series.
     
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  8. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    Well, I get easily attached to my characters, so doing anything bad to them usually makes me feel bad! And a lot of bad stuff happens to my characters, haha.
    It feels worse when they're innocent or naive characters who don't know how to handle those situations.
     
  9. Gilganjun
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    Gilganjun New Member

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    Cop out version: Noel could ditch the woman off the edge of a river bridge, instead of directly into the path of the undead. Would leave it somewhat open-ended. The woman might still survive if she's helped by a group seeking shelter underneath the bridge or something, and character could return to the story later if necessary.

    Or y0u could just kill her and be done with it as originally planned.. lol
     
  10. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    One way or another, my writing comes back to the things I see and feel, and a lot of what I see and feel is disturbing. I've been fortunate in many ways, but I've lived in proximity to people who weren't, and I've seen shocking levels of apathy, callousness, distrust, and outright hatred from people who had what they needed and were unwilling to share. Writing about that can be a form of honesty. (Perhaps Bertolt Brecht had the right of it.)

    But at the same time, I can't help but be a bit sick of all these stories about people who accept systems of human sacrifice and work within them for personal gain. I feel like there needs to be more room for stories that at least acknowledge that people can exist within a system without being well-oiled cogs. People can break the rules, defy expectations, and at least within certain limits, follow their own principles.

    I guess you could say that, never having killed anyone, I can't relate to all these protagonists who kill people all the time. But it's more than that. I'm no hero, but I think I'm a person who does more good than harm in the world in my own limited way. I want protagonists who do good as well, who look for ways to avoid having to hurt people and come up with solutions that don't bring about more suffering.
     
  11. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    There is a lot of things which disturb me because I am emotionally open, but I am not too open about my work's content since the very first person I opened up to was my friend and he had an asthmatic attack in response. It was awhile ago, but it still is the first thing that jumps into my head when the thought of someone reading my material comes up. That is why I shifted to happier things, but there is still always that part of me that will remember what happened... It is far more disturbing to me to put those words down not because I am afraid, but because of what it did to my best friend.
     
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  12. Greyditch
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    Greyditch Member

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    Well, not really personally. The only things I refuse to touch in my writing would be sexual assault/rape. There are not many things more disgusting then that, and I just don't want to think about it or go any where near those topics. Other than that, not really. And I don't really like it when all the good characters get killed off in stories that I read. (Looking at you G.R.R.M)
     
  13. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    Comfort zone can be limiting. Whenever i think i'm going over the edge of comfort, i look back later and think im a tertible person and then realize theres successful published works that went beyond. Think of how far Steven King goes or how Harris's Hannibal Lector series stacks up to your comfort level.
     
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  14. Reefermadness420lol
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    Reefermadness420lol New Member

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    Imagine it until the scene is over, as many details as you can think of, you'll do good that way. So what if you break yourself for an afternoon?
    Also, don't use all the details in the story, that could be tiresome to read, imagining them only leads you to new ideas of what it would be like to take part in murdering a woman in that fashion, and what it'd be like to be the woman, that stuff could be gold.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  15. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I have written of rape, breaking of bones, and burning of people in my first Sci-fi novel. And will probably continue into the sequel, although it is a military themed story line.

    Though as of recent have been working on a short that will take the cake, and make the stuff in the Novel look like a joke in comparison. The skinny is as follows:

    A group of media corporations strike a deal with the government for a new network of shows. This network is dedicated to broadcasting prisoners (both foreign and domestic), either in combat with other prisoners (military prisoners are included). Or being tortured in horrific fashion in multiple ways. For extra fun they have an interactive fan base between the two types, the Fighters and the Tormentors.

    This is just the tip of a rather complex and potentially disturbing iceberg. As it does have some Adult themed elements to it, involving some situations that would be more on the torture side of this premise. Not really sure if I should share it or not considering the content. But how bad can it be, since it involves bad people punishing each other?
     
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  16. Mocheo Timo
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    Mocheo Timo Active Member

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    I was challenged before to do some work on the line of Edgar Allan Poe and the theme of the macabre.
    After reading The Tell-Tale Heart, I had confidence I could write something similar.
    I tried to write it and I gave up.

    I realized I actually had the potential to write something very dark.
    But why?
    The more vivid I tried to imagine, the more vivid it became to me, to the point it would create an impact on myself.
    In the end, I would either end up writing a shallow, uninteresting story but which would have a little effect on me,
    or something deeply disturbing which would leave a permanent impression.

    Of course it is always important to expand your creativity, and try to include as much as you can in your writing.
    But authors like Poe actually experienced those dark feelings which they expressed.
    I see no reason to create those sensations if they are not a part of one's life.
    So avoiding something which can greatly disturb you does not necessarily show weakness in your writing;
    it just defines the kinds of genres you are more prone to write effectively on.
     
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  17. A man called Valance
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    A man called Valance Active Member

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    Go ahead and throw her off. It's Noël's dilemma, not yours.
     
  18. Startled Crow
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    Startled Crow Member Supporter

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    As a horror writer and fan, I've always been a fan of unique but terrifying 'monsters'. The kind of monsters I write about are the kind that make people scream in terror when they see them. They are often deformed, horrifying and deadly. Sometimes, I get so into writing about them that the details sort of give me the creeps. I write often before going to work on third shift, so that walk from my back door to my truck through the darkness of the night's sight is often a semi-paranoid walk LOL. I'm a grown man and I know monsters are not real but I still give myself the willies haha, which is probably good?
     
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  19. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Writing about dark things, including your characters, even protagonists doing them, is a necessary part of writing dark, serious content. If you feel bad, don't stress. That's what your readership should be feeling as well.
     
  20. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    I had to add more to my previous answer.

    I wrote of an interrogation between a bad dirty-deeds mafia guy trying to find out, from the only person who knew, where a specific doctor went. He used his leather belt, racked acorss the face a few times and began the russian roulette style of mental torture next. He had many things planned to get the info. The subject who knew was an 18 or 19 yer old kid with downs. It was uncomfortable as all hell to write but it was an exercise to drive myself there and finish the scene. Afterwards, where it was tough to do, I realize I could go deeper now but only if the story deemed it necessary. In the end, it became an exercise to prepare myself to do more. Just like writing is exercise in general, writing specific types of scenes seems to also be exercise as well in how to do that type of scene. If you need a murder in your story, start practicing some dark murders on the side and then try the one for your story. You might be more pleased and disgusted with that than the first one you couldn't get though.
     
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  21. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    :ohno::ohno::bigeek:
     
  22. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I just come out and say it: I don't hold back on all the dirty deeds be it; murder, mutilation(both dissection and outright dismemberment), interrogation/torture, and rape. Though I do draw lines that even my crazy ass won't go. As for everything else, well it's basically a free for all within reason. (though I do tend to push the envelop when I feel the urge) :p Sometimes you have to go the extra mile to really get underneath the skin. :p

    But in real life, I am pretty laid back and actually abhor the brutality people are capable of. Maybe I am just a tad desensitized when it comes to the darker grittier things.

    Now I will find you and dump a bucket of daddy longlegs on you while you sleep. :superlaugh:(damn this needs to be more psychotic or maniacal. well just pretend for me please):superlaugh:
     

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