Written Sept 2011-
Do you want to know a secret?
Something they never tell you about being a writer?
Sometimes it takes you to places you don’t want to go.
But that,I have come to believe, is the difference between people that write and writers.
Let me put it this way: people that write choose their characters and what to say. Writers don’t choose who their characters are and what they go through. They just tell you the story that is being told to them.
I know. I sound schizophrenic. Character writers, which is what I consider myself, often do. I can differentiate between the voices in my head trying to tell me a story in the shower(seriously…they always get so much louder when I have nothing else to focus on) and reality. That doesn’t change the fact that, though I may choose the phrasing, I don’t choose the story.
I had to write a very difficult scene today. I didn’t want to, but it was important. It was a father describing to a king how a man stabbed his wife to death and then raped his daughter.
I’m very good at scenes like this. Tragic scenes for a character are my forte’. I’m good at connecting the story and the reader in a giant web of sadness. I always have been. The story I wrote for Sam (based on an idea of his that he was looking to solidify and then make into a series of music videos-the first of which is done) is all tragedy and it took me a week of doing almost nothing else to complete. A story I wrote in High School was a similar concept(neither of which has to do with rape, just losing a loved one in an unfortunate way) that made my teacher cry. Plus fanfiction that I used to write was riddled with the stuff.
Just to be clear: I have not suffered any massive tragedies in my life. I had a very abusive boyfriend once, but what he did and what I write about are not synonymous. I just happen to be good at writing dark things.
Here is the problem with being a character writer and being good at writing dark scenes: you feel it very deeply. Fortunately, I was not telling the story from the point of view of the father. Had I been, I would have had to stop before it was finished and take a break. (when I was writing House of Shadows for Sam the reason it took me a week to write was not because it was very long-though it was about fifteen-twenty pages-but because it was from the POV of a man dealing with tragedy and I kept spiraling into the darkness that my character was in…I cried a lot during the writing of that story even though in my personal life I had nothing to be upset about) But it was still dark and sad and, though it contained a learning experience for my character, I didn’t like doing it.
This is where people say “if you didn’t want to write it then why didn’t you write something else” Here is why: Because had I tried, the story wouldn’t have fit together properly. I have tried in the past to change a characters story to something that suited me better, but it never works out. I always have to go back and write what was supposed to be there in the first place. Like I said-I don’t choose the story. I just write it down.