When you don’t want to do “that’ to your characters.

I’m procrastinating. I’m putting off writing because I don’t want to write the next scene.

Now, there is all kinds of advice out there about how to deal with this situation, some of which has worked for me and some of which hasn’t, and I know that I’ll get through this, just like I did when I killed off a character that I didn’t want to kill in my last book.

What I want to talk about is why I don’t want to write the next scene.   It’s because I am going to put my characters through something that I don’t want to do to them.

I don’t have a problem with violence, even really horrific violence.   I can threaten my characters with being shot, stabbed, burned alive, and pelted with electrified frogs.

I can get through sex scenes (although I blush and have to kind of peek through my fingers as I type–that’s tough to do, trust me).

Even betrayal, finding out that a trusted friend is the real enemy, I’m okay with.

I have a problem putting my characters in a socially awkward situation.  It hurts me to write scenes where people are uncomfortable.

Now, trying to be reasonable spoiler free, I have Character A, who is a likable character, very popular with both the other characters and my readers.  Then I have Character B, who is a total dick. Pretty much everyone dislikes Character B, except for Character A, who has a long history with Character B and still very much in love with Character B.

I just wrote the scene where Character A has learned that Character B has been killed. I’m okay with that part, I do pathos and tragedy well.  What I don’t want to write is the other character’s reactions to the news.  Because it’s going to get uncomfortable.  They all know about the relationship, and they want to sympathize and offer support to Character A, but on the other hand, no one can think of much good to say about Character B.

I mean, no one is going to come out and say, “Well, he was a jerk and you’re better off without him,” because not even any of my characters are that brutal, but on the other hand if they say, “We’ll miss him,” it’s a lie, because they won’t.

So I’m messing around with other stuff and watching CSI to keep from having to deal with it.  For the moment, that is.  I’ll get back to work soon.

So how about you?  Got any scenes or types of scenes that are really hard for you to sit down and get through?



About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in On Writing, Who I am, Worms Of Heaven and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to When you don’t want to do “that’ to your characters.

  1. I’ve been procrastinating too. I’m not quite ready to write the next section, and I’m worried about not hitting the length I had in mind for this piece.

  2. I would be horrible and kill off the likeable Character A… but that’s just me. When a character of mine is killed off, it’s usually because my Muse has whispered ‘he’s got to die here’ in my ear. Even I don’t see that coming.
    If you are not comfortable / relishing the scene where ‘C’ learns about the late B, skip to a day after (if that works for the story) where C has has had time to digest the news and has entered the next phase of mourning. C might now be discussing their feelings with ‘D’ and ‘E.’
    Hope this helps.

  3. Sue says:

    Well if people don’t have anything nice to say about character B, they could just say to character A, “I feel your pain” or something, sort of shuffle their feet, roll the eyes at the others and say something simple.

  4. I always have a hard time with the lovey dovey scenes. I love reading them, but writing them is so hard! I always look at what I’m writing and think “This is absolutely rubbish, no one talks like this, god this is so awkward, they should be laughing at how stupid the entire situation is, not making out like it’s going out of style”.

  5. sknicholls says:

    I usually go with, “Sorry for your loss.” Then I am empathizing with the person living not the one who died. It is all people really want or need to hear.

    I am with Michelle on the mushy stuff, especially mushy romantic sex scenes. I don’t like reading them or writing them. I am into casual, recreational sex…love and sex are synonymous in so many minds. If you write a casual sex scene, someone is going to call you out on not having developed enough romance, even if you are being true to the character. If you’re having sex with me you must love me. If you are not having sex with me you must not love me? B.S.

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