The difficulty of depravity; or writing uncomfortable topics

It’s no secret that I’m writing a crime novel, so of course, there has to be a crime. When I came up with the idea, I envisaged a lot of hurdles; convincing characters, catching all plot holes, making sure my coincidences are not story-breaking, avoiding plagiarism or simply rehashing a new story…loads of problems I foresaw and figured I could avoid.

What I did not foresee was encountering constitutional difficulties in writing about the crime itself. I’ve read loads of horror – from the reasonably soft Stephen King to the gorier Graham Masterton and even the rapey-awfulness that is Richard Laymond. I’ve happily consumed Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ series, and nameless other violent, murderous, torturous and down-right-depraved novels and movies without issue.

But now, writing my own story of violence and depravity? I find I shy away from really getting into it. I write around it, I spend ages writing about the room they are in or the clothes they are wearing or the heat or the cold or anything to avoid actually putting down the terrible words of the terrible crime.

I strongly suspect that this softness, this change, is because I have kids. Since having kids my tolerance for crime shows and horror, particularly that horror that targets children to be very limited. Before kids, my wife and I were avid watchers of Criminal Minds. Now we have two gorgeous kids…I cannot bring myself to put the show on. I can’t watch a show about monsters preying on others without thinking about monsters preying on my family, and it terrifies me in a close and personal way.

So now I find that as I approach these sections I need to brace myself before plunging in, and basically start writing stream of consciousness until I’m past it, lest I pause too long and lose my nerve entirely. I’m sure I will get more comfortable as I progress, but at this early stage I am finding it difficult.

What about you? Do you have any topics that you find difficult or uncomfortable to write about? Is it violence related or something else?

Perhaps more importantly – How do you deal with it?

Only a short day today, and missed any writing yesterday entirely (although I did do 400 words of planning)…I have some catching up to do in the next few days.

Daily word count: 350

Total word count: 9,163 (apparently I deleted some words when writing these ones…I’m a few hundred ahead anyway, so it’s not a big deal).

Today’s Soundtrack:

Is this a repeat? I have no idea…how soon we lose track!




6 thoughts on “The difficulty of depravity; or writing uncomfortable topics

  1. Loved this post, made me think. I struggle with ‘steamy’ scenes and do my best to avoid them. I am writing romance which is hard to do. I prefer letting the reader go through them in their own mind but this is the coward’s way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, you may have it tougher:)
      I’m able to deal with most of my unpleasantness ‘off camera’ (so far) & only write the consequences (so finding the body instead of showing the murder). At this stage it helps preserve the mystery.

      Romance novels (at least the very few I’ve been exposed too) tend to include their steaminess very ‘upfront’.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve been prolific of late. I’ve been struggling to keep up with you.

    I find the mere act of writing for an audience discouraging, never mind whether or not I’m writing something depraved. I find writing “shit draft” wherever I start to be a big help. Basically I’m telling myself, “no one needs to see this but me, at least until I’m happy with it.” As Hemingway reputedly said, “Write drunk. Edit sober.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G’day mate – how’s things? I’ve been slack with reading other blogs recently – read/reviewed anything interesting? Don’t feel any pressure to read these posts with any regularity – most of the time it’s a 20 minute stream of consciousness with added stats on my novel draft and an insight into my dubious musical tastes. Not too much of particular depth – deliberately so, as I don’t want blogging to get in the way of writing.

      Prolific…yes, I suppose it is (certainly compared to my previous efforts). Does the quality match the output? Well…

      The Shit Draft is the concept I’m trying to become comfortable with. I enjoyed the 100 word challenges because I could produce something highly polished without spending too much time. It was great, but I didn’t get any work done on the larger pieces I wanted to do.

      So here’s to the Shit Draft; it might stink, but it’s better than holding it in.

      (Constipation as a metaphor for writing…Nice.)

      Keep in touch 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been a fan of stream of consciousness since my senior year English teacher forced me to read A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man. (I should really reread it.)

        I recently read Europe in Autumn and Red Plenty, both of which I recommend, especially the latter. Red Plenty may sound strange, but it’s good.

        Keep writing. I’m always interested in your updates. Hope all is well.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s