The best thing about this online world of ours is you never know who you are going to meet. I don’t know about you, but one of the areas I struggle with is writing a character’s pain in a way that is raw, realistic…but not just “one-note.” So when I crossed paths with a paramedic-turned-writer, I got a little excited. And when she said she’d share her brain with us about the experience of pain, and how to write it authentically, I got A LOT excited. Read on, and make sure to visit Aunt Scripty’s links at the end. Her blog is full of more great medical info for writers.
Writing About Pain (Without Putting your Readers in Agony)
Pain is a fundamental part of the human experience, which means that it’s a fundamental part of storytelling. It’s the root of some of our best metaphors, our most elegant writing. Characters in fiction suffer, because their suffering mirrors our own.
In good writing, physical suffering often mirrors emotional suffering. It heightens drama, raises the stakes, adds yet another hurdle for our hero to jump before they reach their glorious climax.
So why can reading about pain be so boring?
Consider the following (made-up) example:
The pain shot up her arm like fire. She cringed. It exploded in her head with a blinding whiteness. It made her dizzy. It made her reel. The pain was like needles that had been dipped in alcohol had been jammed through her skin, like her arm had been replaced with ice and electricity wired straight into her spine.
For your characters, at its worst the pain can be all-consuming. For your readers, though, it can become a grind. Let’s be honest, you gave up reading that paragraph by the third sentence.
In another story, a character breaks his ribs in one scene, then has, uhhh, intimate moments with his Special Someone in the next. Where did the agony go‽
There’s a fine line to walk between forgetting your character’s pain, elucidating it, and over-describing it.
So I’m here today to give you a pain scale to work with, and provide some pointers on how to keep in mind a character’s injuries without turning off your readers.
How Much Does It Hurt? A Pain Scale for Writers
Minor/Mild: This is pain that your character notices but doesn’t distract them. Consider words like pinch, sting, smart, stiffness.
Moderate: This is pain that distracts your character but doesn’t truly stop them. Consider words like ache, throb, distress, flare.
Severe: This is pain your character can’t ignore. It will stop them from doing much of anything. Consider words like agony, anguish, suffering, throes, torment, stabbing.
Obliterating: This is the kind of pain that prohibits anything else except being in pain (and doing anything to alleviate it). Consider words like ripping, tearing, writhing.
Metaphors, of course, are going to play somewhere on this spectrum, but I would suggest picking one level of pain and targeting it. For instance, don’t mix stinging with searing when finding a metaphor to build.
How Often Should We Remind Readers of a Character’s Pain?
Most pain that matters in fiction isn’t a one-and-done kind of a deal. A gunshot wound should burn and itch and ache as it heals. A broken bone should send a jarring blast of lightning into the brain if that bone is jostled or hit.
Injuries need to have consequences. Otherwise, what’s the point?
There are three main ways to remind a reader of your character’s suffering: show them suffering, show them working around their suffering, and a third, more advanced, technique that I’ll mention in a moment.
If you want to show their pain, the easiest way is to tell: “her shoulder ached”; “she rubbed her aching shoulder”; “she rolled her shoulder subconsciously, trying to work out the aching stiffness” all convey what we want.
For frequency, try to limit those mentions to once per scene at the most, and perhaps as rarely as once per chapter.
However, we can choose something closer to the show route, by watching the character work around their injuries: “she opened the door awkwardly with her left hand to avoid the burn on her right”; “she led each step on the staircase with her good leg”; “Martin fiddled with his sling irritably”. That can be a little more frequent. It’s a reminder, but it’s also a small challenge that they’re solving before your very eyes. Huzzah!
For a breakdown of possible conflict scenarios that can lead to your character experiencing pain, go here.
One Final Technique: The Transmission of Agony
My best friend is a paramedic. She’s also had spinal fusion, has multiple slipped discs, and takes a boatload of pain medication. And yet I can see how much pain she’s in when we work together by the way she walks, talks, and carries herself.
Her pain isn’t constant. It changes. It ebbs and flows like the tide. It can be debilitating in one minute, bearable the next. So, too, can the agony of your characters:
“The agony had faded to a dull throb.”
“The pain in my shoulder ramped up the from stiffness all the way to searing, blinding agony faster than I could blink.”
“And, just when the pain was at its worst, it dissipated, like fog off some terrible lake.”
Go forth. Inflict suffering and woe upon your characters!
If I can offer one more piece of wisdom, it’s this: research the injury inflicted upon your character. At the very least, try to get a grasp on what their recovery might look like. It will add a level of realism to your writing that you simply can’t fake without it, and remind you that they should stay injured beyond the length of a scene.
Thank you for your time and your attention.
xoxo, Aunt Scripty
Aunt Scripty is a veteran paramedic and author of the ScriptMedic blog at scriptmedicblog.com . In just three short months, her blog has attracted several thousand followers and accidentally started a writing advice blog revolution on Tumblr.
She lives in an undisclosed location with her beautiful wife and imaginary pibble, Steve, and can be found @scriptmedic on Twitter. If you’re not careful, she’ll sneak up on you in a dark alleyway and give you a free ebook.
TIP: To describe your character’s pain, visit this descriptive database:
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Ellen cassidy says
This post is so timely! One of my MC’s suffers with chronic pain from an automobile accident, and I am portraying him using several ways to alleviate it, such as opiates, alcohol, weed. He also has manic depression. Can you direct me to specific resources regarding how such a person “rehabs’? I have him entering a holistic facility, but I’m also wrestling with whether he can ever come off the other stuff completely. Because, they work, even if temporarily. I feel like pain mgt is so poorly understood and not done well for most folks. And the judgment! I have a pharmacist friend who was loathsome of people desperate to get their opiate scripts filled, calling them “street trash.” Any help portraying my guy accurately “healing” would be most appreciated!
BECCA PUGLISI says
Hi, Ellen. I’m so glad this resource is helping you with your WIP. It sounds like you’re got a good handle on exactly what your character is suffering with, which is important for getting the information you need. To find that information, I would suggest speaking with a doctor. You can talk to your own physician the next time you go in or even put out a call on social media for doctors or nurses who might be willing to answer a few questions about your character’s situation. I’ve found that people love talking about what they do and their areas of specialty and as long as you’re respectful of their time, you can usually get a professional’s feedback for free.
Best of luck to you!
Ok so my character is being tortured and she got kicked HARD in the chest but I can’t find a good verb to describe how she went back. I also can’t find a way to describe the pain she felt.
Probably start with her not recognizing the pain because of the Adrenaline and then explain how the pain escalates… “The pain exploded in her stomach; the dull ache turned into a searing pain”
Just some stuff I’ve seen authors do.
Julie Reppe says
I have a character that is badly beaten, (injuries consist of the standard bruises and cuts, she has a rather large gash over one eye, and has also been flogged. she has managed to escape her captors only to loose her footing in a pothole and fall to the ground, she cracks a rib in the process.) she is fortunate that a passer by finds her and takes the time out to clean her up ( he is a surgeon) my issue is describing the wounds as he treats her injuries. I’m trying not to put to much description here at this point as she feigns amnesia and he counters her lies with her injuries. i don’t want to repeat myself if that makes sense.
Many thanks in advance.
My Character is being hunted by a man and finds out that its the same man that killed her mother. How do I describe the pain that this will cause her to feel?
Now, I’m not a therapist, and what you’re talking about is an emotional wound more than anything. But you’re probably going to want to start with the processing of shock; denial and numbness to kick things off, as the brain struggles to even process the information
Next, this is going to rip open any hurts surrounding that loss, which I’d expect she never got proper closure for in the first place if he’s still at large to keep hurting her/her family; that’ll mean a reliving of the grief, and whatever predominant emotions she has left around it (was she mainly angry at the loss? Did she blame the killer more, or did someone else’s choices put her mother in the killer’s path? Was she left lost and confused, did she feel trapped, were there any things she used to find pleasure in that lost their joy due to associations following the event?) your character’s primary coping mechanism? (Everyone has them, don’t lie.) Does she throw herself into projects looking for distractions? Does she get angry and lash out? Does she hide her hurts away from the world? Depending on how she’d normally handle such a horrifying discovery, the knowledge someone’s actively out to get her might deny her that small comfort, which will exasperate the issue even further.
Finally, does she know what this killer wants? Do you? Why is he specifically after her? Why did he kill her mother? Can she hide in a crowd, or will reaching out put the people she cares about in danger?
These questions should help you identify the TYPE of pain she’ll be feeling (boiling anger might keep the actual hurt at bay until the problem is dealt with, while self-imposed/protective loneliness can drive someone into a depressive spiral) from whence physical descriptions can be relatively easily found by looking up psych studies or other advice articles. (To stick with those two examples, anger is hot, clouds in the head and fists, can induce very similar symptoms of crying such as a tight throat or burning eyes; meanwhile, that kind of loneliness tends to be cold and clear-eyed, hard to choose but frightfully easy to maintain with a forced smile and a quick deflection, and leaves you feeling listless and hopeless while struggling alone.)
It comes down really heavily to the type of person your character is, how she copes with adversity and how she copes with loss. No one but you is deep enough in her head to really know what kind of reaction this’ll induce in her, so no one but you can know what kind of reaction you should be describing.
I’ve never been in the situation you’re describing, but I’ve dealt with several intentional deaths before (mostly suicides,) and looking around the room for weeks after the fact, not one person was processing the same emotions at any given point in time. Death and grief are messy, even more so when death and/or pain were the intended outcome of the events. And beyond the simple fear for one’s own life (which once again, everyone would deal with differently; both actually trigger fight-flight-freeze in us, grief just takes a brief stop at “oh shit, I feel vulnerable” before turning INTO fear on the way) those are the associated emotions she will have with this man.
BECCA PUGLISI says
I think MSF has answered your question nicely, Aldre. It truly does depend on the person (their personality, backstory, support system, what other difficulties they’re dealing with, etc.), since different people respond to the same wounding event differently. So doing the background work on your character to really get to know them is super important in figuring out their response.
quick Q: how would one care for a stab wound to the left side of the abdomen, directly under the ribs? its a classic fantasy setting, taking place in approximately the middle of the medieval age, and it is a healer treating them, i’m just not sure what exactly he would do, and other websites aren’t the most useful at the moment. thanks:)
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
You might want to visit Scriptmedic’s site listed in the post as she has many different scenarios at her site which might help answer this question. 😉
Phenyo Molepo says
my characters have all gone through something that has changed them , the way they think , the way they do things and their judgment in general. but what I’m basically struggling to do is tell their stories in a way that relates to what the story is about which based on what my characters went through that caused them pain and in a way that will convince readers to want to continue reading and continue to want to get the readers to want to get to know each character better
Marie Garcia says
I’m writing a story that sets the “Snow White” fairy tale in the modern world and in my version, she eats a candy apple laced with a paralytic drug. What should the actress be displaying upon ingesting it?
BECCA PUGLISI says
Hi, Marie. It’s good that you’re looking for ways to write this response accurately, since we always want our stories to read as realistic and authentic to readers. I’m unschooled in paralytic drugs and their effects, so you’ll need to research this. A Google search can get you started and help you find some credible sources. You also could talk to doctors own nurses who may be able to give you some good information. Good luck with your story!
Here’s a problem I’ve run into:
Character A has been seriously injured in a hostile environment. Character B —a setting-appropriate medic/healer— discovers A and attempts to save A’s life. Functionally, this is a non-combative action scene (a short but vital moment, every choice and instinct raised to the highest stakes, no time/ability to get outside help, this is where the music-director in a movie puts the really intense bits of the score, etc) BUT as a writer, I now have to convey A’s injuries and B’s emergency examination/assessment, how/why this is such a big deal, the moment B chooses (consciously or not) to attempt to save A despite any/all risks, and at least a PORTION of how that treatment is applied, since, you know, the fight to save A’s life is the meat of the scene… without killing the pacing by stopping dead and becoming a textbook.
Cutting away to A’s recovery, I’ve found, is good for building up B’s mysteriousness, but risks downplaying the injuries and leaving the audience confused about their repercussions (especially if B tries to comfort A by obfuscating just how serious it was.) Showing B’s struggle to save A’s life is a great character-defining moment for B and gives payoff to the initial trauma, but risks descending into jargon if the steps aren’t explained. Describing A’s injuries in detail really conveys the serious danger A is in, but also brings the momentum to a shrieking halt; keeping the injuries vague once again risks downplaying/confusion.
No one on the internet has written about this problem that I can find; it’s either advice on writing fight scenes, advice on writing injuries (even though emergency treatment is part of dealing with that, right?), or advice on writing actual medical documents.
Challenge modes include:
• A is unconscious [and cannot contribute dialogue.]
• A and B have never met [this is a character introduction scene.]
• B’s healing abilities are beyond current science (either magical or tech,) and have their limits established/reinforced by this scene. [The audience must understand some basic rules of this ability by the end of the scene.]
• Scene is from B’s perspective, [meaning B has experience/context the audience might not.]
• This is one of your opening scenes, [so you don’t have much time for setting up context before it starts.]
• Be a dumbass like me, and use all challenge modes at once!
…Someone please help me…
How would you describe someone being in pain because someone they loved was hurting? I am basically transcribing a TV show for my blog/website and one character is being forced to listen to her grandmother dying (On tape) at the hands of a sadistic “Angel of death” They are both handcuffed to a poll so he’s frustrated he can’t physically save her and he’s screaming to get the guy to stop because he’s torturing the woman he loves and he can’t stop him. He just screamed for the angel of death to stop and my heart skipped a beat. It was just well done. He’s trying to get out of his handcuffs. I am not a writer, at all. I usually just transcribe and post screencaps but because this scene would be difficult to do that I am trying to describe what is going on and I don’t have the talent for that.lol Thanks 🙂
My character is an animatronic. He’s been captured and tortured by being destroyed and he barely has enough strength to stay conscious. How can I describe his pain?
Sorry if this isn’t a very good question.
I would say something along the lines where he could feel his metal structure being torn apart slowly. He probably would have dents in his structure if his body if fully metal. If he has fur/skin/feathers etc with blood and bodily organs like living animals, I would take notice on blood seeping out of wounds, as well as bruises. I’m not the best with animatronics hope this helped fellow writer 😀
Thank you! Yes, this helped a bunch!
(Sorry for the late reply-)
How should I describe someone falling on their back?
We talking falling from a height?
I’d say winded, it would probably take a few seconds to catch their breath again. Seeing as it’s sorta a heavy feeling of a “Thunk” I would try not so much to describe the pain, but get the reader to relate maybe by describing how hard the surface is so that the reader can infer by their own experience that it hurt. Describe it to make the reader feel uncomfortable or want to rub their back at the thought of it.
You could say that the pain is sudden and maybe include a whip lash effect of their head throwing back and how it pulls up from their shoulders in sudden pain. Maybe some teeth jitters from the head trowed back.
I don’t know that’s a hard one.
So in my story there are two times that my main protagonist experiences physical pain. The first would be closer to a physical attack; punched, kicked, the whole nine yards that could be classified as physical abuse. As for the 2nd time, it’s a split second decision as she runs over towards someone to protect them from harm and in turn my protagonist ends up getting stabbed through the chest.
I’m having a bit of a hard time describing the sensation from the protagonist’s perspective during the 2nd time of being injured.
Hello there! I’m quite young and I’m only really here for help with a school thing. I have had personal experience with shock like situations and nerve damage so I figured I would give you some pointers.
Shock is really strange and it honestly takes a lot longer then you would think for your brain to process the situation. Seeing as it’s a split second situation I see this coming into play. Before you understand the full situation you tend to try and move around or look to see what happened to the best of your ability because your body is going through completely unfamiliar sensations. Attempting to move only to then find a sudden pain or you are unable to move as a whole.
As for pain my situation was directly nerve based. Lot’s of numbness and stinging, think someone hammering your funny bone except it shoots throughout your whole body. Seeing as it’s in the chest I would turn to throbbing pain of her heartbeat. The sharp pain comes afterwards when it sinks in and you try your best to move. Shaking is also very important. Think adrenaline and anxiety, your body goes into shock so the thought process isn’t too great. Not a lot of speaking either, it’s hard to make up any sort of conversation.
Passing out because of pain isn’t uncommon either, even more so at the sight of their own blood.
When I was going through shock I asked a bystander to tell me a story to try and distracted myself from the sharp tingly pain and the muscle spasms. Don’t know if any of that helps but I figured I’d say it anyways
This was some really helpful information to know! It did help me cover with the light stuff, but I was wondering for times where the scenarios get really gory?
As if the character were to get stabbed, how should it be expressed?
Also, how would it be like if the character just woke up from a coma?
Last question! Do you have a separate page for writing out battle scenes?
Tara Sikder says
How can I show pain from burning? Like someone was forced to literary walk on fire. I don’t know how to show it to readers. Help please!!!
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Tara, have a look here: http://www.scriptmedicblog.com/?s=burns
In my story i am the 1st person and someone is paralyzed because if my ignorance and now he is in the hospital so how should i write that i am in utter despair and agony. And i want him to forgive me. Can you pls help i want a really nice description on that😊
And yeah i want a description on inner and spiritual pain but not on physical pain.
I would really appreciate if someone help me!
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
what you’re looking for is the Emotional Wound Thesaurus: https://writershelpingwriters.net/the-emotional-wound-thesaurus-a-writers-guide-to-psychological-trauma/
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Hi there, as I mentioned in the other comment, you’ll want to dig into the character’s emotional wounds and think about how their behavior will be unique to the character and the situation they are in. The Emotional Wound thesaurus can help with that. For setting description, you’ll want to look at the Urban Setting Thesaurus where it contains different hospital settings and the sensory description to go with them so your setting seems realistic. (Sorry, I wasn’t sure which area of description you meant you were struggling with here.)
What is the body language of someone in extreme pain?
One of the characters in my work is, for a bunch of reasons: mute. The only way that she can communicate with my POV character is through actions and body language. She’s been injured so badly that, if not for magic she would be dead in seconds, but she’s conscious, unable to scream.
I’ve described her injuries (with words like ‘mangled’ and ‘twisted’, and descriptions of shards of bone poking out where her knees should be), but I really want to hammer home the nightmarish nature of her situation. Magic is involved, healing magic in the setting is not simple or even kind.
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Hi Steve, One of the Amplifiers in our ebooklet, Emotion Amplifiers is “Pain.” That might help you? https://writershelpingwriters.net/emotion-amplifiers/
Ryan Lingerlander says
Thank you so much! This was very helpful but am wondering about how to write about an infection?
BECCA PUGLISI says
Ryan, I would advise you to do some research on the kind of infection so you’ll know what it looks like and how the character will physically respond. You could also talk to medical practitioners for practical information. Best of luck!
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Also, if you go to the site of this guest poster, you’ll see she had more articles on different types of injuries and how to write them, so I would be shocked if she didn’t have something on infections. Just poke around and I’m sure you’ll find some help there. 🙂
I have write a character who as cut their feet on rocks and branches. Luckily I have not experienced that first hand, but that makes it hard to write about.
The character is running away for danger and can’t stop to address his injury. I really don’t know how to describe how that feels, and what it does to the body.
Do you think you could help me with some descriptive words?
I would appreciate it,
How do describe a flying elbow to the stomach?
BECCA PUGLISI says
Hi, Hayden. While I’m thankful this has never happened to me, it unfortunately doesn’t give me any reference for answering your question. But I do remember times when I’ve had the wind knocked out of me and when I have been knocked painfully by someone else. You’ve probably experienced these things too; use those memories to write about how it would feel. Think about things like localized pain, but what other physical sensations it may trigger, like nausea, losing one’s breath, or what happens to the person if the impact causes additional pain, such as them falling down or stumbling backward and hitting their head, etc.
My character fell on his face. Not scraping his palms, just his face.
How would you write a character who is unable to feel pain? (Or hunger, thirst, tiredness, etc.) This is not congenital insensitivity, this is a light fantasy setting where this is paired with moderately increased endurance as a power/mutation. The character in question is a 12 year old girl.
BECCA PUGLISI says
Hi, Georgia. I’m sorry, but I’m just now seeing your comment here. For this, you’ll have to show, through the character’s response, that they’re not feeling pain, and whether or not this is normal for her. For instance, you could show her being knocked down, getting up and dusting herself off, and her fingers coming away bloody. Maybe she’s gashed her leg or impaled it on something, and she didn’t notice. And now that she does, she doesn’t respond normally. Maybe she treats it like an inconvenience, bandaging it up or yanking out the offending shard of glass, then trotting off without a limp. Or maybe she consciously affects a limp because she knows that would be normal with such an injury and she wants to avoid notice. Maybe she mentally recalls that a year ago, this would have hurt like you know what, and that’s how her mutation is a blessing in disguise. The important thing here is to know your character’s state of mind regarding her mutation and having her respond accordingly so it doesn’t come off as unrealistic or explanatory to the reader. I hope I’m not too late and you’re able to use this information.
How can I describe a knife across the face?
BECCA PUGLISI says
Hi, James. I’m afraid you’ll have to do some research on this since I’ve had no experience here. Think about times when you’ve experienced a wound to the face, or a cutting wound and apply that knowledge to your character’s situation. You may even be able to Google the question and find some information. Best of luck!
Chloe Ross says
I love causing pain to characters (but don’t do it for no reason) and I legitimately could not stop grinning unless I covered my mouth with my hand……. There’s something wrong with me. Anyway, THANK YOU for this, it’s super helpful!
My character has a knife slash across her face. She also lives on the streets after fleeing the hospital.
Expert your article helped me with:
The voices blurred together, mixing into a haze through the pain as they got her to the hospital. She had gotten the impression that a simple cut would have less medical needs. Looking back on it, Ellen thought she was overwhelmed by it all. She was in searing pain, the force of it ripping through her mind like a bomb, after all.
Gail Shepherd says
So helpful and timely! Thank you!
Janice Hampton says
I love this article!! I have a question. I have an alpha male hero who is an amputee. He’s been through therapy and it’s been about four years since he lost his leg. My question involves phantom pain that I’ve read a lot about with amputees. How bad does this kind of pain get in relation to your Mild, Moderate or Severe pain? I have the scene where when he wakes up and it’s throbbing and it’s swollen so he can’t put on his prothesis. I read this in another book. Is that accurate? I have him taking some pain meds. How long does it take before the pain goes away approximately? I mention that he’s been using accpuncture for the pain as well with some success. Is this even accurate??
Aunt Scripty says
Hey Janice! Thanks for your question!
Phantom pain comes from a number of different causes, including damage or pressure on a nerve, especially if scar tissue is putting pressure on it.
While I’m certainly not a pain management specialist, and nothing here is to be considered medical advice — my disclaimer is here ( http://www.scriptmedicblog.com/disclaimer ) — I have a couple of great resources to send you.
The first is an article from the Amputee Coalition, talking about pain and possible treatments, here: http://www.amputee-coalition.org/limb-loss-resource-center/resources-for-pain-management/managing-phantom-pain/
WebMD has a fairly decent article here: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/phantom-limb-pain#1-4
And Mayo Clinic, my personal favorite resource on the whole wide Webiverse, has a great article here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/phantom-pain/basics/treatment/con-20023268
It seems, from reading these sources, that a combination of medical therapy (including opioids like Vicodin / hydrocodone or Percocet / oxycodone, anticonvulsants such as Neurontin / gabapentin or Lyrica / pregabalin, or tricyclic antidepressants including amitryptaline or tramadol) and non-medical therapy (such as mirror box, applied heat, massage, and, yes, accupuncture etc of the affected leg).
You might think seizure medication or antidepressants are a strange thing to give for phantom limb pain, but they interrupt the way neuropathic pain signals are transmitted and received in the brain. Science: It’s Kinda Neat Sometimes, Huh? (TM).
There’s a GREAT TED talk that, among other things, touches on mirror box therapy here: http://www.ted.com/talks/vilayanur_ramachandran_on_your_mind?language=en
(It helps that that guy has one of the best accents I’ve ever heard in my whole life, by the way, and the talk is fascinating even before dealing with this.)
As to how bad the pain gets, I think that’s up to you to decide, though I’ve heard it *can* be severe; however, he’s been dealing with this for four years now.
Swelling of the stump is certainly possible. In fact, after an amputation, it takes weeks for the swelling to go down enough to even fit an amputee for a prosthesis! This far along it may be irritated skin, or your character may have developed an infection in the site. But just like any area, irritation breeds swelling, itching, and pain.
I hope this was useful! I’d say you’re already headed down the right track, and I would personally like to say I would LOVE to see more amputee heroes in fiction!
Best of luck with your tale.
xoxo, Aunt Scripty
Excellent post. Thank you Angela for sharing. Like you books, too.
Jennifer Chandler says
This is wonderful information! I find when I write about pain that I fall into the problem of trying to over share the pain of my character. When I go back to read it, I stop reading after the first two sentences (like in the example here). Thank you for sharing this! I appreciate the different levels of pain and the descriptive words to help illustrate them.
Aunt Scripty says
Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad you found it helpful! I know in my own writing I’ve tended toward over-emphasizing pain, especially too early in the story.
One thing I didn’t get a chance to discuss is the idea of ramping up the pain — backing off on descriptions early so that you can maximize them later and not have it be repetitive. It’s the difference between a low-level ache in the shoulder when your character gets out of bed and the ripping, tearing agony when they tear their rotator cuff at the worst possible moment in the story. It’s not always appropriate, but in general, ramping up your character’s pain to mirror scene tension can be an excellent tool if done well.
Good luck with your stories!!
xoxo, Aunt Scripty
Sharon M Hart says
Very informative particle. Thank you for sharing.
Deb Salisbury: Mantua-Maker, Magic Seeker says
Thank you for addressing this problem! It’s very useful information.
Aunt Scripty says
Hey Angela! I just wanted to say thanks so much for having me on the blog, and I hope this post has been helpful for your readers. It’s great to appear on such a fantastic blog!
xoxo, Aunt Scripty
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
So glad to have you. This info is a great help to many writers. 🙂
Mary Van Everbroeck says
Hi Angela: Thank you so much for Posting and for sharing Aunt Scripty’s Post and website. I’ve signed up for her Newsletter and look forward to using the Resources that she offers.
Sheri Levy says
Wonderful information and ideas.