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Christyp
10-31-2013, 06:37 PM
My kids have asked, nay, begged me for years to write a book they can read. After some thought I came up with something I thought teens would want to read.

So here's the problem - this book is emotionally wrecking me. I don't want to go into too many details, but it's based loosely on some events that happened in my own life at their age. Let's just say these aren't happy memories for me, but definitely something so many kids are going through more and more.

Has anyone else had their work drag them through the coals, or am I just getting too personal with my character and story?

ishtar'sgate
10-31-2013, 07:30 PM
I think any time you write a really difficult scene you can be emotionally drained. I know I get that way just from the sheer effort of putting ugliness into words. Some writers actually cry when they write certain scenes. Not uncommon - I think because we are emotionally invested in our words. Then if it touches a personal raw nerve, it's worse.

Kerosene
10-31-2013, 08:07 PM
Some writers actually cry when they write certain scenes.
I don't cry. :e2cry:

Anyways, I think it's important to write scenes that involve the writer emotionally. But, I've never been "emotionally exhausted" from such scenes. I write them all the time, then move on to the next. Perhaps you haven't fully come to terms with the event and emotions you're feeling? Either way, I don't see a problem with being exhausted from doing those scenes as long as you're writing them and transpiring the same emotion onto the reader.

ap123
10-31-2013, 09:17 PM
Yes. Not always, and I don't cry--though I might occasionally leak--but yes. There are certain scenes, certain stories I've written where I feel like I've been bled dry and hung inside out at the end.

Siri Kirpal
10-31-2013, 09:40 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Use this thought to buoy you up: If your emotion is leaking onto the page, it'll be a great read.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

rwm4768
10-31-2013, 10:01 PM
I've written some scenes that are really exhausting emotionally, especially if I have a character dealing with some of the same issues I have.

I've also written torture scenes, and those can be very difficult to write.

I've even gotten worked up while outlining scenes.

Filigree
10-31-2013, 10:12 PM
I'm always happiest when I write something that emotionally wrecks me, because I know it stands a good chance of messing with my readers' heads, too.

WriterBN
10-31-2013, 10:29 PM
As a reader, if the story doesn't involve me emotionally, it's not worth reading. I try to follow the same principle when I write.

Roxxsmom
11-01-2013, 12:47 AM
I definitely have some scenes in my book that have taken me through an emotional wringer. I think they're often scenes that draw from my own emotional experiences most. These are tough, because they're the ones I most want to get "just right" and so have tended to write and rewrite them during the revision process. I can't say it's been a negative thing overall, though. There's something cathartic about getting scenes like this out on paper for me, and it's gratifying when readers tell them they feel the emotions in the story.

gothicangel
11-01-2013, 01:49 AM
My sister has a great philosophy. Although she doesn't read a lot of fiction, she's a real cinema buff, and she puts it this way: 'I want to feel like I lived through something.' I think that's a fabulous way to put it, that can be applied to books too.

buz
11-01-2013, 03:57 AM
I don't feel emotional about what I write, but I do get mentally worn out. If I know I've sort of hit my limit, I'll either stop writing or I'll just flop on wearily in order to get the basic scene banged out and hopefully fix it later because I probably can't muster the brainjuice to make it any good.

As a reader, though, I kind of like to be emotionally wrecked. :p I don't know why. It's awful. I don't sleep or eat or whatever and then I go to work and I'm like I'M SO DEPRESSED ABOUT KATNISS' SISTER YOU DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND BUHHHHH and I come home and I want to curl into a ball and I need my palate cleansed with, like, Kung Pow! Enter the Fist or something...

But getting wrecked on books is SO GOOD :D

kkbe
11-02-2013, 11:30 PM
Happens to me. And a lot of what I write comes from stuff I've experienced or thought about. And yeah, I've written scenes that made me cry. Heck, just happened again the other day. Then again, could be hormones.

:)

I think the best writing is the kind that communicates both story and emotion, effective and affecting. Give yourself time to process the emotion part of it. Be gentle to yourself and go on when you feel ready.

Susan Littlefield
11-03-2013, 04:53 AM
My kids have asked, nay, begged me for years to write a book they can read. After some thought I came up with something I thought teens would want to read.

So here's the problem - this book is emotionally wrecking me. I don't want to go into too many details, but it's based loosely on some events that happened in my own life at their age. Let's just say these aren't happy memories for me, but definitely something so many kids are going through more and more.

Has anyone else had their work drag them through the coals, or am I just getting too personal with my character and story?

Think of it this way. When we put that energy into our writing, it will come out on the page. I bet your teenagers will feel what you've put into the story.

Continue writing and see where it takes you. :)

GingerGunlock
11-03-2013, 05:20 AM
No, it isn't too much. So far as the reader is concerned, anyway. Be aware of taking mental breathers if you need to.

I don't tend to cry and agonize over things, but there are times I skate closer to the edge than others. And times I need to keep it at an arm's length.

rwm4768
11-03-2013, 08:34 AM
My book was emotionally exhausting today. Right now, my main character is in a very miserable state. I love my characters, but I also love to torture them.

Hmm...what does that say about me?

katci13
11-03-2013, 09:18 AM
This happened to me a few years ago. I set it aside for a year and went back to it. I'm not saying you have to set it aside that long or even set it aside at all, but maybe some distance might help you.

Or you may just be an emotional kind of writer. I scare myself, laugh a lot, and cry when I write. It's a lot of fun. :) Sometimes when we're doing something that's therapeutic it can me mentally exhausting. Don't push yourself too hard.

quicklime
11-03-2013, 10:01 AM
it isn't uncommon for writing to reflect real life....

I wrote better as i was falling in love, and about loss as i was closer to it or particularly cognizant of it.....King wrote Pet Semetary after his son was almost his by a pulp truck and Brust wrote whichever Jhereg book had Vlad losing his wife at the same time he was going through a divorce, and someone, I think Morrell, wrote the most sadly fucking awful story about losing a kid to terminal illness....shortly after losing his own son.

sometimes we're drawn to things that cut deeply. Sometimes thise things just speak anyway. But it isn't at all uncommon to find yourself in the middle of difficult, personal stuff.

CrastersBabies
11-03-2013, 08:23 PM
Though I write fiction, there is always some "anchor" within that pulls from my own experiences and own personal truth. So, when I reach these intense, powerful, emotional moments, I feel like I've got an IV bag into my psyche at times. Even for fiction writers it can be very difficult. Claustrophobic. I'm working on a chapter now that is very graphic, violent, and traumatic for one particular character and I've had to break it up into chunks. I write until I know I've hit that point where it's starting to wear me down. Fortunately, I've gotten more sensitive about when that point is coming.

Yesterday, for example, I got in 500 words and realized I had to stop and return to it.

On the nonfiction side of things, I've taught writing to inmates for almost 5 years now and while we do not ask our writers to write about personal nonfiction things, they usually write their experiences. And a good deal of it is very sensitive material, dealing with abuse and addiction and violence. And our sessions can be very emotionally charged. The thing I've learned from that is how cathartic writing can be, but it can also bring old emotions to the fore in a very unexpected and uncomfortable way.

Give yourself permission to feel those things. And be good to yourself! (hugs)