For the better part of two months, Becca and I have been exploring pain, and how to write about it in fiction. It’s been enlightening for us, and we hope for you as well. So many ways to torture characters, who knew?
(Well, we did. And you did. Pain is sort of our bread and butter, isn’t it?)
But maybe you missed a post or two. It happens. You were on a writing retreat, or vacationing at the lake. Maybe you were hiding out in a sleeping bag in the woods, denying the arrival of fall and Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
Whatever the case may be, we’ve got you. Here are all the posts in this series.
Pain has 3 stages: Before, During, and After. For realistic and logical description, you’ll want to know what all three will look like for your character and the type of injury.
Discomfort comes in all shapes and sizes, including physical, psychological, and spiritual pain. Mine this post for ideas on how to bring something fresh to your story by targeting a variety of soft spots.
Cuts, stings, and scrapes create discomfort and can easily lead to bigger problems. You’ll find loads of descriptive detail for showing smaller injuries here, and how they can make your story more realistic.
Sometimes a wound is serious, casting doubt on whether your character will survive this crisis. Fill your mental toolbox with ideas on what happens when your character is stricken with an injury with no easy fix.
Not every injury leaves a physical mark, and when you can’t see it, you don’t know how bad it is. Invisible injuries and conditions are a great vehicle to encourage readers to worry about characters they care about.
We all hope we’ll cope well when injured, but certain factors make it easier–or harder–to handle pain. This list will help you steer how a character responds!
No one likes to get hurt, but when circumstances are afoot that cause that injury to worsen? Tension and conflict, baby. So, when you’re feeling evil, read this one to see how you can raise the stakes.
We want to immerse readers in the character’s everyday world, so it helps to think about where dangers and threats might be lurking so we can create a credible collision with pain that comes from a believable source.
Finally, we round up this series with unmissable tips on how to take pain scenes from good, to great. Authenticity is key, and of course, showing and not telling. Don’t miss these final tips to help you write tense, engaging fiction!
We hope this series on pain helps you level up your stories.
Pain is an Emotion Amplifier, and a powerful one at that, so putting in extra effort to showcase it well is worth the time.
Pain presents a challenge for your character while making them more emotionally volatile, and prone to mistakes. This means tension and conflict, drawing readers in!
Pain also helps empathy for because people know pain, and so when a character they care about is battered and bruised, or beset by trauma, readers can’t help but be reminded of their own experiences, and worry over what will happens next.
Before you go…
Don’t forget, its birthday week here at Writers Helping Writers as our sister site, One Stop for Writers is turning 8!
We’ve rustled up a nice 25% discount on all subscriptions, so if you want to add some serious thunder to your writer’s toolkit, check out the arsenal of writing tools you get with a OSFW subscription, including the Storyteller’s Roadmap that guides you as you plan, write, and revise.
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.