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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bleeding on the Page

Life's been rough lately. I can't even try to hide it, not in real life, because I've randomly been bursting into tears at the oddest moments, and I've been unable to concentrate on the things I need to concentrate on, and I tell random strangers things about my life that they never wanted or needed to know.

The things going on on the inside have been finding a way out, whether it is the way I wanted them to come out or not.

Now, I'm not telling you this for sympathy or anything like that. We all go through rough patches, and we all find ways to deal with them. I'm no different. I'm finding ways to cope. (And yes, if you're wondering, I'm seeking counseling during this traumatic time.)

No, I'm talking about this because it has found another, slightly annoying, means of coming out of me.

It's coming out in my writing.

The project I'm currently working on was supposed to be happy. Sunshine and rainbows, and all that other stuff. Yeah, that hasn't happened. I'm still finding ways to put humor into it, but the characters and the plot have gone a very different direction than what I envisioned before I sat down and put fingers to keys.

My hero all of a sudden has a dark and tortured path. And my heroine's entire world was just ripped out from under her, leaving her a crying, pained mess. Much like me.

No, what is going on with her is not the same thing as what is going on with me...but the emotions are all the same, the whole big bag of random, unexplainable, annoying emotions that have lately taken over my life.

I'm not sure if, subconsciously, I'm trying to deal with them myself through dealing with them with this character. Maybe some small part of me thinks that if she gets a happy ending, I will too. One can only hope that is the case. :) But at least I can be sure my heroine gets one.

As a writer, have you ever had something similar happen, where your current situation somehow bleeds onto the page? As a reader, do you find yourself drawn to books that convey the emotions you're experiencing in your real life, or do you prefer the opposite? Have you ever put down a book or a writing project because it hit too close to home?


  1. And just today, Candace Havens blogged about something very similar. http://www.genreality.net/

  2. As a reader, do you find yourself drawn to books that convey the emotions you're experiencing in your real life, or do you prefer the opposite? - As a reader, I often prefer the opposite of what I'm finding in my real life. I know I risk overloading if I'm already depressed/sad/angry/whatever and I pick up a book that mirrors that.

    Have you ever put down a book or a writing project because it hit too close to home? Yes. The deaths of both my cats and then of my grandfather (all within 13 months), plus some other family issues had me all torn up. Everything I touched warped and twisted into... bad, bad things. I was seriously screwing up my own stories (I killed both my hero and heroine in one and blew up the planet in another). I finally realized what was happening and pushed aside all my stories then gave myself permission to write all the bad things in one big throw-away story. I sat down and intentionally came up with a story that let me bleed through all I wanted/needed. It was sort of like venting, only... not.

    That story is now on a back burner. I'm not ready to burn it yet. I still have bad days when I just can't stop the bleeding. On those days, I've learned to stop trying and just open up that other story. It doesn't matter how bad the story gets or how TSTL the characters get; no one will ever see that story. (Except, with my luck, it'll be the one that ends up published LOL)

  3. I think it's a natural thing for it to come out in your writing. How could it not? In the end, it just might help. Something else I've learned, never force your writing into a shape it doesn't want to take. Your writing will be better for it.

  4. Rubi, that's a great idea of venting it all into one place, something that no one else will ever see. I may have to try that. :)

    So true, Wendy. I've tried to push myself to write what I thought something should be, and it never works out. It's always better to allow a story to unfold as it will. That's why, as a plotter, I never force my characters to do something that they wouldn't do. If they change the plot, then I just go with the changes and see what happens.

  5. I have on my flash drive a folder titled "DO NOT READ" that's filled with morbid stories I've penned because of sadness, anger, depression, etc. They've been penned in one sitting and have never been seen since.

    I don't read at all when my emotions go on the fritz or life's circumstances bring out the worst in me. Reading is, has always been, a pleasing escape for me. Retreating there when my emotions are crazy blinds me to the realities I need to deal with instead of hide from. I learned that lesson after battling manic depression for over ten years.

  6. I agree I think it can be a good thing. It gives the characters depth. Emotion can drive a story forward and sometimes makes the plot better then when it's driven by an outside force. I do it all the time. Inside every story I write you'll find some kind of emotion that's going on my own life. Sometimes it can't be helped. I've embraced it and welcomed it, and I personally think it makes my writing so much more complete. Of course, that may be due to the fact that for a long time emotion was something I avoided in my writing and I struggled with writing it. But lately, I've learned it's a good thing. A good balance is always good. What can it hurt? You can always rewrite the chapter or edit it out. That's what the editing process is for. Good luck!

  7. There have been times where I've tried to write about my life or use instances for my characters in order to help me "cope," but it always came out sounding cheesy and melodramatic. lol. And in some ways it *did* help me cope by making me realize how ridiculous my problems were. (Not that yours are ridiculous, but mine have always been fairly trivial)

    I do think I write in a lot of myself subconsciously, though. For instance, the parent figures always either represent what I had, what I *thought* I had, or what I really wanted. Does that make any sense? LOL! Either way, you can find a lot of *me* through the parent/child relationships in my writing.

  8. I didn't set out to write about issues in my past that still bothered me, but in two stories, I did exactly that. None of those scenes have made it into the final versions, which is fine. It was really more therapeutic for me than entertaining for others to read. :-)

    I also wrote a short story with a character based on a former boss that was just a horrible leader and hard to stomach. Then I sold that story and made money off of it. That was even more therapeutic!

  9. Miriam, I find it interesting that you avoid reading when your life is a mess. I tend to do the opposite--BECAUSE it allows me to escape for a bit. I do realize that I have to deal with my real life problems, too, but sometimes it is nice to forget about them for a bit and read about someone else's problems.

    Suzie, that's great that you're putting your emotions into your stories now. :) While it may not be healthy to put all of them into our writing, it's always good to put some of them in. What good is a story with no emotion?

    Jerrica, I love that you have figured out what specific little part of yourself you tend to always include in your books. The parent/child relationship is one of the most significant in our lives, and they all tend to manifest in such different ways. I'll have to pay more attention to that in your books, now. :)

  10. LOL, Samantha! I bet making money off of that story was really therapeutic. Did you use it for more therapy, like mall therapy?

  11. There have been many books I've stopped reading b/c it was mirroring my life or eliciting emotions I didn't want to feel at the time.

    Sometimes, I think people might not realize that *that* might be why they didn't like a particular book. And that maybe they should put it down and come back to it later.

    However, I do put things in books that have happened or have been said to me in some way. I might tweak it a bit, but it can be fun.

  12. Great point, Marquita, about people not liking a particular book because it could hit too close to home. There have been a number of times I've read a scathing review and wondered if perhaps the reader had just read it at a bad point in their lives for such a storyline or a particular plot point. And yes, some things it can be very fun to put in. :)