Writing Pain

grievingThe theme of my current novel-in-progress is grief. Each morning when I re-enter the world of my characters I have to delve back into their pain, and it’s really hard. I wish I was writing about joy. That would bring lightness to my life, but that’s not the story that’s calling to me right now. I know that the writing will get easier towards the end as my characters work through their grief, and, (hopefully) find meaning in it but here in the middle it’s agony, which is exactly what grief is.

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” (Robert Frost)

I struggle on, and in doing so I learn, for in the end that is why I write.


4 thoughts on “Writing Pain

  1. Shelley, I love the last sentence of your post. I couldn’t have put it better. Regarding the grief and other strong, negative emotions (the opposite of happiness and joy shall we say), that is perhaps what lies at the core of the stories we tell, even stories that are funny. In my own writing, putting my characters through hardship was absolutely the toughest thing I had to learn to do. You’re right, it does hurt. On the other hand, if there’s nothing to overcome, there is no story; the best novels really do seem to be all about redemption. I wonder, too, if real life would be half as beautiful if there wasn’t hardship and pain, things we have to learn to live with and overcome.

    • Thanks Louisa. I agree, it’s because we all experience tough times that we can really enjoy the beauty life has to offer, by contrast. I also think that if we care so much about our fictional characters that we hate putting them in tough situations it means they’ve come alive for us, and hopefully that means they’ve also come alive for our readers.

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