I’m working on a new short story for a very cool anthology. And frankly, the story is scaring me to death.
It’s dark. I write darkness. There’s bravery and honor in it. I write bravery and honor. But it’s branching out into subject matter that I generally choose not to discuss, especially concerning an old job that I had. Half of you know what I’m talking about. Yes. Child abuse and molestation.
It’s touchy. It’s very sensitive. It’s something that I have always steered away from, except for a brief mention here or there when I really felt that a mention was needed. Usually that wasn’t the case, however. It isn’t something that I choose to dwell on, and it isn’t something that I choose to exploit. But it’s a key element in this story. Take out that element, and everything unravels. So how do you deal with something that you don’t really want to touch?
Fearlessly. Honestly and with sensitivity. This will look different for everyone. I personally have a few writing rules that I have never broken. One of those rules is that I will never write a graphic rape scene of any kind. While some people tell you that you should purposefully break all of your rules in order to free your creativity, that’s a line that I choose never to cross. Maybe in ten or twenty years I’ll feel differently. I don’t think so. A young child tending to her bruises is all that I feel I need to say in order to get the point across. The horror is still there.
Stories are a strange thing. I wanted it to go into a different direction, with the girl’s trials barely mentioned. But it wasn’t enough. It needed to be brought delicately to the forefront, and since that’s what needed to be done, I did it. So many people think that since we, as authors, write the stories, we’re not affected by them. This isn’t the case.
This was my struggle. Is there a scene that you ever had trouble writing? How do you handle something that needs to be said, but is of a delicate nature?