1. CraniumInsanium

    CraniumInsanium Member

    Apr 3, 2013
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    How to best describe despair in a story

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by CraniumInsanium, Oct 18, 2014.

    If you've read Steven King/Richard Bachmans "The Long Walk", that is the tone I am trying to aim for.

    In my story, there are a bunch of sick people who only have to complete their trek and they will be cured. They all have a terminal illness of some kind, and while coming up with simple yet difficult challenges for them to face I am unsure as how best to describe their individual weariness, their pain and the weight of their afflictions so that the tone is a struggle and bleak.

    I'm not sure if I should just give a full synopsis to everyone so as to provide perspective on what I'm trying to achieve lol. Thanks for reading.
  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA
    Describing or a full synopsis will likely ring dry.

    Actions, responses between characters, helping or watching others suffer and falter during the trek would do more for the reader to gain an understanding. Description has its place, and can be used, but allowing the reader to see and experience through the thoughts, senses, actions, emotions, and dialogue of the characters would be something to strongly consider.
    jannert likes this.
  3. jazzabel

    jazzabel Agent Provocateur Contributor

    Jan 5, 2012
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    Best way to understand illness, death and dying, is to see others go through it. But failing that, researching on line, especially true stories. One book that explores how it is living with illness and limitations is called 'The Illness Narratives'.

    Otherwise, simply pick some ailments, or symptoms you want your characters to have, you can post it here and we can help you conjure up something realistic.
  4. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Aug 27, 2014
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    I don't know if this is ANY help, but...a couple of years ago I walked a marathon, so I was bringing up the rear for much of the first half. After the half-way mark, I started to overtake runners whose legs were now telling them they should have done more training. At the time, looking at the field ahead, I was minded of how I imagined Napoleon's retreat from Moscow looked...a trail of stragglers struggling on through weariness, despairing of completing the distance, each in his own private torture chamber.

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