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message 1: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe | 112 comments So I was wondering whether anyone has ever had this problem before, in a book I wrote last year I gave one of the major secondary characters a particular issue, just because I thought it would add an interesting dynamic to the series, but now I find myself dealing with the same issue.

Its a very emotional issue, and one that I'm working on dealing with and at the moment is a near daily struggle, and I had considered removing the whole storyline from the series, so far it covers at least three of the ten books in the series, but then I decided against that thinking it would be therapeutic to write about and I would be able to dramatically improve the scenes that cover the issue now that I can write about it with firsthand knowledge. However soon I will be up to editing the first book that the issue is in and I'm a little nervous about how to handle approaching editing/revising the book, as the issue is still very fresh and I'm still quite emotional about it.

I don't want to delay editing, but I also don't want to cause myself undue additional stress, so I was wondering whether anyone else has written about something traumatic that has happened to them and how you handled it, any tips or suggestions would be very much welcomed!

Tara Woods Turner In my humble opinion writing can be therapeutic but I don't believe in suffering for art's sake. So i would say listen to what your mind and heart are telling you. If dealing with your particular issue through the editing process gives you insight and you feel drained but thoughtful at the end of the day then the experience has benefitted you and will also make your writing voice more authentic. however, if the process leaves you feeling sad or filled with anxiety and you find yourself dreading it then you may not be ready to untangle those particular issues through your writing and it is okay to put your mental stability first. either way I applaud your bravery and i hope your writing gives you purpose and fulfillment.

message 3: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Not exactly. I have certain issues of my own (mainly anxiety related), and I had a couple of scenes that I felt were needed in some of my books that I knew were going to make me think about things that weren't pleasant. My experience seemed to be that if I though a lot about it, it made it worse, but if I just wrote, my brain was too occupied by the act of writing to dwell on the uncomfortable. Admittedly, editing was a bit harder, but again, with the right amount of focus, I could muscle through. If things got too much, I would go exercise (to blow off the adrenaline from my fight or flight) or go distract myself with my dogs.

Whatever you're going through, I wish you strength.

message 4: by John Hooker (new)

John Hooker | 90 comments Jane wrote: "So I was wondering whether anyone has ever had this problem before, in a book I wrote last year I gave one of the major secondary characters a particular issue, just because I thought it would add ..."

I have no comparable experience, but the unconscious is the place where everything that has been repressed resides, but it is also the source of all creativity. Thus I would think of it as a gift, and not a problem at all. Huge implications...

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 973 comments I'm a writer, not an author, but can speak from experience on this. I've written traumatic events for my characters based on my life experiences. I'm not boasting by stating I believe my best writing is done when I put my heart and soul into it. That being said, sometimes I can write for hours while other times I must walk away because I find myself slipping into darkness. You are right to be concerned about this issue possibly causing stress, especially with it so fresh. I'm sure when you edit, it will be fabulous, but what will it cost you emotionally? Only you can decide if that price is too high. One option is if you have someone you can talk to who can give you strength, you may very well get through it unscathed. I don't mean to sound so dramatic, but felt compelled to answer.

Tara Woods Turner Sue
You truly seem to have the sensitivity and soul of a true artist.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 973 comments Tara, Thank you very much for those very kind words. (((hugs)))

Jane, I also apologize for what you are going through and hope things get better soon. (((hugs)))

Hugs to All

message 8: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments @Miss Jane: No, ma'am, I can't say I have. But I just wanted to give you a hug.


message 9: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe | 112 comments Thanks for all the insightful comments (and the hugs!) they've been very helpful!

My specific issue is that I wrote a character who can't have children because of an attack by a stalker who misread a situation, and I was recently diagnosed with cancer and because of surgery can no longer have children (didn't want so say the issue at first as I don't want to seem like I'm complaining, there are plenty of people in the world way worse off than me, so I'm saying it now mostly for my own benefit, since things happened super quickly it sometimes doesn't feel real so I sporadically say it "out loud" to help make it seem more real to myself) after reading these comments and reflecting I think its probably best to wait a little longer before working on editing as I'm not sure I'm quite up to it yet, especially since I didn't make a conscious decision to write about this issue, this storyline was written a year ago, I still think it will be therapeutic when I come to edit but not sure I'm there yet

If anyone has been in this situation where they've written about something emotional in their own life I would still love any suggestions on how you handled it for when I come to do the editing of this book

Thanks again

Tara Woods Turner Jane
I have to congratulate you on your strength and insight. Brava :)

I believe that when you do decide to work on the piece that will be your heart's way of telling you that you can handle it. I would also encourage you to remember this as you write and edit it: you are sharing something with the world that may give someone comfort and let them know they are not alone and their struggle is not singular. They may feel a measure of comfort or at least identity by reading something you wrote. Connecting is one of the greatest tools writers have and your work may serve as a great example of that. Someone once said that grief is one of the few things in life that shrinks the more we share it. Best of luck to you in writing and in life.

message 11: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Eyre (rachaeleyre) | 194 comments I was badly bullied at school so naturally drew upon that experience when I was writing The Revenge of Rose Grubb. Some of the nastiest passages are things that actually happened to me - difficult to write, and hard for some readers, but utterly necessary in explaining why Rose can't just let go. I used to suffer badly from post traumatic stress; writing the book was key in putting it behind me.

message 12: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments I wrote a suicide into something, and less than a year later, an old friend killed himself.

I still haven't recovered, but I try to keep moving forward.

message 13: by Tina (new)

Tina McCright (tinamccright) | 14 comments I am so sorry this is happening to you. Trust what your heart is telling you to do. Taking that issue out may be more painful than leaving it in. It takes a lot of time to find every sentence you need to change. When you feel ready to edit you can think of your character as everyone dealing with this and send love and healing into your words. If you can't face it, maybe a trusted friend can edit for you. Hugs.

message 14: by John Hooker (last edited Jul 11, 2016 06:51AM) (new)

John Hooker | 90 comments Jane wrote: "I was recently diagnosed with cancer and because of surgery can no longer have children...

I sporadically say it "out loud" to help make it seem more real to myself..."

Jane, OK. I do have experience, many years of it. My wife fought cancer twice: the second time, of course, was fatal. However, the time she had left with it was, as her last doctor said "way beyond the statistics".

There is no disease so tied into the psyche than cancer. Those who succumb to it easiest are those who deny it; who avoid "checking it out". It struck me (and my wife) that cancer seems intelligent and is telling the person: "Shhhh! It's our little secret".

My wife had a brilliant oncologist: a research scientist and the head of his cancer centre. Once she told him of a dream that the treatment was doing the opposite of what it should be. He replied by saying "That is your body telling you something is wrong. I will change the chemo drug".

She was kicked out of a cancer support group because her story "was upsetting everyone"! Later we met an elderly and retired oncological nurse who told her: "You poor dear, don't you know that cancer support groups are where cancers meet to support each other?" The hairs on the back of neck stood up!

I think it likely that if you took an online Myers-Briggs personality test you would discover that you are an intuitive introvert. Do keep talking about it; do make it real. Cancer cannot handle that. You are a survivor. It was a gift.

message 15: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 552 comments Sorry to hear what caused you to start this thread, Jane. I hope you will take heart from others who, for one reason or another, have been unable to have children. The woman most likely to become the next Prime Minister of the UK is unable to have children and has diabetes 1 as well, so stay positive and keep doing what feels right for you, those you love and those around you.

Someone I knew well was diagnosed with cancer and lived for 40 years after the operation, I hope that will be so for you, or longer if you wish!

message 16: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I have written my infertility and adoption issues into books. Stuff about food allergies, mental illness, abuse, etc. that were from personal experience or close to home. I have one book that I wrote about suicide years ago that I cannot go back and look at, but in most of the other cases, I am happy to have something that validates my feelings and the feelings of others who have gone through similar trials. I want my work to support and validate others. Some of these issues are tough or taboo so people don't often write about them. But I think that others need to hear it and know there is someone in their corner.

If an issue in a book that you have written becomes triggering, I think you'll know it. And you can recognize whether it is a 'good' trigger (cathartic) or a bad trigger that drags you deeper down the hole. Listen to what your heart tells you. You can get someone else to help you with the editing if you can't manage it.

message 17: by Gippy (new)

Gippy Adams | 99 comments Jane wrote: "So I was wondering whether anyone has ever had this problem before, in a book I wrote last year I gave one of the major secondary characters a particular issue, just because I thought it would add ..."

Hi Jane. Sorry you are having a difficult time with this. In answer to your question, my protagonist in my book Web of Destruction suffers from panic disorder and 'running' night terrors--both of which I have. Panic attacks have diminished greatly, but I still have 'running' night terrors. I do not sleep well out of fear of having them over and over. I have broken bones over the years and been found outside even. Upon awakening, the running stops, my heartrate is about 170 bpms (Dr. noted), I'm sweating, disoriented, and only my children who were told to follow me when they heard the curdling scream knew what happened. I don't remember anything. So, my female character's situation in the story gave me the opportunity to get it out there though someone else--even if only fictional. I feel it actually helped me rather than hindered me and because of it, many people ask me to talk about it as they might have them. So, I am helping others, which is why I write. I hope this helps you some. Take care.

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 973 comments Hi Jane,
I am so sorry to learn of your traumatic health issue. I will pray for your comfort, health, and healing.

Everyone here has responded with great advice. All I can add is I am currently working on 2 novels. One is a paranormal romance and the other is contemporary fiction. It's the fiction book I keep putting aside because certain parts are too painful for me to edit at this time. I'm not in a mentally healthy state right now. So I'm working on the paranormal romance.

When I am in a better state of mind, I am able to remove myself from the situation and edit the book from the perspective of a stranger. I'm still reading the words, but in my mind I am checking someone else's spelling, grammar, and content. That's how I get through it.

I do not have cancer, but my child-bearing decision was made for me due to 20 years of tenacious endometriosis. After 14 surgeries, a new doctor discovered a few cysts on my right ovary and urged me to have everything removed. I think it's incredibly sad that so many woman are unable to have children at the same time there are so many abortions. Something's wrong here. That's all I'll say on that.

The reason I haven't dropped the book is because I believe in the story, and I'm hoping it will touch someone and let them know they are not alone, as others here have stated.

You are right to put it away for now and you'll know when you are ready to look at it again. No need to put yourself through emotional pain.
Hugs, Sue

message 19: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe | 112 comments I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to EVERYONE for sharing with me!!

All this advise was extremely helpful, and I was very touched that people shared their struggles with me!! You have all been extremely encouraging and I am actually feeling a little more positive about approaching the editing, so I'm going to give it a little more time and then go to work on it as I would really love it if the storyline was helpful to someone going through a similar situation.

Again my absolute most sincerest thanks for so much thoughtful and encouraging help and support!!

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 973 comments Thank you for sharing your story with us. We are always here if you ever need to chat. We haven't met in person, but that doesn't mean we don't care about each other, because we do.
Hugs, Sue

message 21: by Denae (new)

Denae Christine (denaechristine) | 167 comments Looks like you have a lot of great advice, Jane. Don't downplay your own struggles, and that sounds great that you're considering the story might be helpful to your readers.

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