Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tough Scenes and Emotional Therapy

Yesterday, I wrote a difficult scene for Mystic ~ Lily and the residual horror of it has yet to vacate my mind. When I spoke with Sandi on Monday, she asked me what the most difficult part of writing is. Listen to the interview here. This is it. I find it very hard to get over the emotional baggage my writing sometimes leaves behind.

Why is that?

Because, like most writers, I experience what my characters do. I am in their shoes or watching the scene through their eyes. It's this situation that I discussed last week on my post about author empathy.

I have to tell you, 9-11 had a serious impact on me. I felt it for months afterward. All those people dying, screaming, running, etc... Then, the people in the US flooded hospitals to donate blood. I felt the pride, too.

I will say it again, writers that cannot feel, cannot write. I believe that with every iota of my being. In order to properly convey love on the page, we have to be able to understand what it means to love. That's not to say we have to fall in love ourselves (though that helps), but we do need to be able to empathize with others and feel what they do. When we must convey pain, it should be something we have felt; if not through our own struggles, then someone we identified with. It's necessary to feel the emotions flowing through our fingers onto the page.

It makes it difficult to move on after writing a particularly difficult scene.

In Yassa, I crafted a scene where Temujin is exacting revenge on some men who stole his wife and sold her at auction. He slaughters their whole families. I shuddered, I got angry, and I felt his satisfaction when he tortured the man who bought her.

Those feelings lingered for days and only faded with time.

So, my question to you writers out there (AND you readers) is this: When you read or write a very emotional scene, do you take those feelings with you? If so, how do you shake them off after?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. I throw myself into a good book after an emotional writing session, because then I can get lost in someone else's words and emotions. But I know what you mean about hard scenes. It makes me think of actors and how they immerse themselves in a role. It's daunting, but freeing. Great post. Sharing.

    1. You gave me food for thought with your response. It's kind of like writing all the scenes of a movie I'm watching. Good point!! Thanks for the comment and the share, Tia!!


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