I Was Disturbed This Evening

Posted: March 5, 2013 in Novel, Progress Report, Reflections, Scary Stuff, Writing
Tags: , , , , ,

I was editing a chapter of Snake this evening, when the Snake is torturing his third victim for information (on what, you ask? Read the book when it comes out). At some point during this chapter, the Snake becomes incensed by something his victim says to him and retaliates in a most gruesome manner. The thing is, I didn’t remember that I’d written that part the way I’d written it, which was fast, unforeseen, and totally horrifying in its inhumanity. It disturbed me a little, and I wrote the bloody scene over the summer! (By the way, no pun intended when I say “bloody”)

This is pretty ironic, seeing as I pride myself on being immune to most scenes of horror and death in fiction. But it also points out something: if I can be disturbed by a scene I created in a story I wrote, even just a little, and I knew that scene was coming, then what would the reaction be of someone who didn’t see it coming, and isn’t as desensitized to these sort of things as I am? I get a little excited just thinking about it.

It makes me wonder if I’ll be disturbed by any other scenes I’ve written in this thriller novel of mine. There are quite a few more murder and torture scenes to go through, so the likelihood is high that I might see something and feel a little twinge of horror, disgust, or queasiness. But if I do, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, I write horror stories primarily, so if even I feel a little reaction from going over and editing a scene, I think that means I’m doing something right.

It can also point to how disturbed I am as a writer and possibly as a person, the way I have a character killed or how I describe the monsters in the story or how I build up to a terrifying conclusion in a certain scene. Critics will definitely wonder if I’m depraved (always possible), if I was traumatized as a child (yes I was, I wrote a post on it last year) or if I’m trying to corrupt my readers with this vile stuff I write (objection! I seek only to share and entertain while making a little money where I can).  But hey, if Stephen King and Anne Rice and Edgar Allen Poe can write some of the same stuff and survive the scathing criticism, why can’t I?

Besides, there are certain things those same writers above wrote that I do not plan to write (if you haven’t read Stephen King’s IT, please go to the Wikipedia page and read the last sentence of the second-to-last paragraph of the section titled 1957-1958 under Plot. You’ll understand what I mean). Even I have lines I won’t cross, though sometimes they don’t seem obvious to others.

Well, I’ll continue editing Snake and seeing what I find. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some more scenes, be disturbed when it’s necessary, and touch up some scenes to be more disturbing if I think it’s needed. Hopefully I’ll be able to create a novel that will catch on and cause a wave and be praised for its disturbing/thrilling/insert-advective-here aspects. That’s the dream, at least.

In the meantime though, I have to get ready for bed. I’ve got Abnomal Pyschology class in the morning, definitely one of my favorites, and I want to be awake when we discuss treating bipolar disorder. Good night, everybody.

  1. Rohan 7 Things says:

    That’s really interesting! I actually cried the other day when editing something I’d written in the sci fi book I’m writing. It was a really sad scene and I was shocked that it elicited such a strong emotional response.

    I think whatever the response is, it’s a good sign if even the writer of the book can be touched or horrified! It must mean that a fresh reader, unaware of what’s to come could have a similar or even stronger reaction!

    Thanks for sharing, good luck with your editing 🙂

    All the best.


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