Since I started writing a few years ago, I discovered a peculiar phenomenon – I’m often shocked at what happens when these fingertips hit the keys.
I know many writers plot out every scene ahead of time. I thought that would be my way of putting a novel together. I am obsessed with efficiency and order in my daily life. However, I’ve found that I can’t adhere to any structure when writing. I suppose that’s why it’s so exhilarating and therapeutic for me. I get to let the messy, intuitive side out to play.
I’ve just finished Part II of the SICK series that my readers voted for. I had planned to finish it sooner, speed-publishing it like the first book, but I was delayed by my own aversion to the manuscript. Yes, I freaked myself out with my own writing. SICKER has become sicker than I ever wanted it to be.
I always send whatever I wrote for the day to my sister, Tia. She lets me know if I’m on the right track and helps me when I’m stuck. At one point, Tia was disappointed because I glossed over the event that is the catalyst for so much of John Branch’s illness. I was too wimpy to attempt it, so I left some hints to imply what happened. She said that I had to write the scene and gave me some ideas. I sucked it up and wrote it, and I enjoyed writing it.
After I finished I was queasy and maybe sort of gaggy. Where did all this disturbing shit come from? Worst of all, not only did a give birth to this scene, but I understood my character’s logic and felt his excitement. *shudders*
I wished I could unwrite it, but it was too late. Like accidentally catching your parents in the throes of coitus, I couldn’t unsee, unfeel, or unhear what had taken place in my head.
I stepped away from the desk and paced the room. I couldn’t go back to reading the manuscript, much less writing more of the story. This lasted for a whole week. The thought of it made me feel creeped-out and depressed. I start doubting my morals, my memories, and my sanity. How did I conceive this depravity? What is wrong with me?
Here are my theories.
- I grew up watching too much American TV and Hollywood movies. (If you’ve lived outside the US for a while, you’ll realize our sources for entertainment are pretty f*cked up).
- Awful things happened to me that I’ve repressed and this is my way of giving myself hints, thus opening the way for the subconscious to heal.
- Epigenetics: My genes were shaped by the experiences of my ancestors (war, famine, hardship, brutality) and I am processing their trauma through writing.
- I’m secretly a depraved psychopath living vicariously through my characters. Who knows how long I’ll be satisfied with acting out my compulsions in books?
- We are all secretly psychopaths, and I happen to be one that exposes little bits of my twisted mind, like a literary flasher who hides behind the cozy excuse that it’s all just “fiction.” My readers, also closet psychos, pretend they’re innocently enjoying said “fiction,” when in reality they like it much more than they should.
None of these theories bring me any comfort. They all come with unsettling revelations. Maybe writers of psychological thrillers or suspense novels can tell me why we create these characters and how to cope with our creations once they’ve been unleashed on us.
SICKER is done. Beta-copies will be sent out soon. If test-readers say I’ve gone too far, I might just leave it unpublished.
What’s the most disturbing scene you’ve read in a book?
Have you ever been deeply disturbed by something you’ve written?
How do you know when you’ve gone too far?
Leave your comments below.