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