Hi Gang, Craig with you again. This is another expansion pack, because it’s not something you’ll need in every story. It’s a trick that I consider worthy of sharing with you.
This one is based upon personal experience. A recent chapter I wrote brought it back to mind. I have shortcomings as an author, and if you’re honest you probably do too. As a personal example, I had a story that required a sex scene many years ago. I’d never written one, and it remains the most godawful example of writing I’ve ever produced. (You know you have some, too.)
There is at least one Story Empire member who writes erotica on occasion. It’s just not within my skill set. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.
I just finished writing another problematic scene, but this one came out much better. It involves a gang rape. I’ve always avoided any kind of rape in my stories because I find the situation overused. This time it seemed to fit.
Sometimes you come up with a plot that requires one of these sensitive topics. I wrote my newest one from the side.
I’ve never heard a term to describe this, so I came up with the one in the title. Readers don’t need to feel every broken rib or disgusting act during an assault. They don’t need to see sex organs or feel like they got raped during the chapter.
This time, I focused on the flares of light from the beating, the scraps of torn clothing, and a toy whistle that belonged to her son. In many ways, I think it kept deep point of view but didn’t focus on the parts nobody wants to read anyway. I’d already set the deep meaning that toy had to my main character in earlier chapters. Might be a cop-out, but I also added a concussion pretty damned quick.
There are whole genres like cozy mysteries that never get too brutal. I’ve read many stories where a couple goes into a room together, the door closes, we all know what happened. While these aren’t my genres, there’s a lot to be learned here.
You can focus your readers on the tow truck that’s pulling the wreck from the canal, without detailing the bloated bodies inside. You can examine a brutal murder scene by focusing on the neat row of Funko Pops in her room. Maybe let your detective get emotional because this was a real person with quirks, hobbies, and friends. It might suck readers in more than a description of blood and brutality.
This is a work in process for me, but you can do this, too. Most of you are pretty quick to adapt this stuff. I even look for weird points of view. A few years back I wrote about a little brown bat going on his nightly adventures. He wound up discovering a dump sight for a serial killer. Might not be exactly the same, but it’s still writing from the side.
I know my story will require a revisit, probably in the form of dialog, but realistic dialog won’t go into those graphic details. It’s a way to deliver some explanation to my readers without forcing them to go through the event as it happens.
If you have a sensitive scene to write, consider what might be on the periphery of the event. Ask yourself if it might be helpful to write it a bit out of focus, and still deliver what readers need. You might even create something with more emotion than any blow by blow action could reveal.
Let me hear from you in the comments. Have you ever tried this one? Would you ever try this one?