Sunday, June 29, 2008

Trauma as Entertainment

Do you... ever feel weird about what you've written?

I mean, you put a character through hell, see her through with the worst day of her life, and then you sell that as entertainment?

Does it ever feel strange?

I endlessly find it fascinating: I go so deep sometimes, I practically feel traumatized by my character's life. And then when I come up, I see I've written entertainment for people. Heck, entertainment even for me, if I step back.

Just a thought.

You know, it's odd: I'm always so surprised and touched when people are kind to me. I rarely ask anyone for anything, like hardly ever, but there have been two recent instances, and I feel so grateful I have to share. Have you ever been really surprised someone was kind?

Anyway, I'm writing a ton, or pseudonym is, and I feel so calm and settled. I have decided I'm not writing for real name until she has the same feeling about a story. I just go crazy when I'm not writing, or when I'm writing but not feeling it.

But I desperately want to ask one site to match the other's royalty rates. Except I keep putting it off. But I really need to. I haven't a clue how. Have you ever asked for a raise? How'd it go? Did it make things weird?

This post is starting to sound like twenty questions, LOL.

I discovered I can make Watermelon Juice in the blender. YUM! I love watermelon.

11 bonus scribbles:

Aimless Writer 6/29/2008 08:01:00 AM  

Those little random kindnesses (is that a word?) that come my way during the day always make me smile.
Asking for a raise? My boss of the last ten years automatically gave them out in September so I never had that issue.
I did have one friend who went to her boss one day and said, "Are we ever going to make any more money here?" And he gave her a raise. lol
What kind of stuff do you write for websites?

Robin 6/29/2008 09:52:00 AM  

I once asked for a raise, and I was so awkward. I stammered, and hemmed and hawed, and when I finally asked for it, my boss cracked up. She said, "Thank goodness it's only that! I thought you were going to quit!"

I hope it's easier than you think!

spyscribbler 6/29/2008 10:44:00 AM  

Aimless, aren't they incredible? Kindness is way underrated. I guess I just have to be direct and ask. I try so hard to keep this blog PG since it has my real name on it, but think EC. I thought you guys had already read between the lines on that one, LOL. :-)

spyscribbler 6/29/2008 10:45:00 AM  

ROFL, Robin! That's hilarious. I would totally be like that. I guess that's a good way to look at it: I'm not quitting!

Mark Terry 6/29/2008 11:45:00 AM  

Although I accept that the basis of entertainment tends to be drama, and that drama requires conflict, and intense conflict sometimes involves violence, I'm aware sometimes that there's a line drawn for different people--and that often my own personal line in the sand shifts.

Erica Orloff noted that she was reading a serial killer book that started to feel like violence porn to her. And I have to confess, although I like JA Konrath, and I liked his first two books and his 4th book reasonably well, his third, Rusty Nails, crossed the line for me. If the 4th, Dirty Martini, hadn't dealt with biological weapon issues that I have a personal interest in, I'm not sure I would have read it. And if he hadn't actually sent me an ARC of Fuzzy Navel, I'm not sure I'd own it, although I may read it in the next couple weeks.

I notice this more in movies at times, where I'll be watching some shoot 'em up, which I generally like, and think, "Hmm, I think we just crossed my personal sensitivities line" where this stopped being entertainment and started being something else.

It might just be where the line between "entertainment" and "art" starts to cross, as well. We watched Clint Eastwood's "Letters from Iwo Jima" last night and I might call it a great movie, but I"m not sure I would call it entertainment. It was definitely absorbing, but it wasn't what I would call a fun movie by any means.

Travis Erwin 6/29/2008 11:54:00 AM  

Manipulating fictional characters is better than torturing ants with a magnifying glass. Right?

Stewart Sternberg 6/29/2008 12:21:00 PM  

I remember writing a scene where a father is about to sexually molest his daughter. I struggled with that enormously. I made a point of implying more than anything else.

Also, because I've written a lot of horror, there are times when I finish that I sit back and shake my head, wondering at a scene or an idea, worrying that it is too disturbing and thinking about what I am doing to a character, taking that character and imagining the scene in real life.

Good Good Post

spyscribbler 6/29/2008 01:14:00 PM  

I remember her saying that, Mark. I haven't read any serial killer fare. And I know EXACTLY what scene you're talking about in Rusty Nails. *shudder* To me, that was as much a horror book as a mystery. It feels to me like he found exactly what he wanted to write: I admire them for that reason. Although I wish I didn't have that image in my mind.

Great point, about the line.

spyscribbler 6/29/2008 01:14:00 PM  

Hah! Travis! You're hilarious. :-)

(Thank God you're writing!) ;-)

spyscribbler 6/29/2008 01:20:00 PM  

Stewart, I have mixed feelings about that. I've tried to write that exact scene (except with a stepfather, how cliche is that), and... I don't know.

And yet, I LOVED that movie that just came out a year or so ago. Gosh, what's that girl's name? Not Britney but one of her crazy young-actress types.

Something like that is icky to write about, but maybe if it were more ... out there in awareness, there would be less real life instances of it. One would hope.

Right now there's probably more Lolita spin-offs than true stories about incest. No wonder it's a problem.

(Eek, sorry, that wasn't exactly your point. :-) That subject is one of my pet peeves.)

Edie 6/30/2008 12:25:00 AM  

In my books I've had rape victims, but the rapes were in the past. I show them after, trying to get their lives together.

I recently read a thriller with a lot of CSI type stuff. That's just icky to me. I can't even look when the vet gives my dog a shot.

But I do turn my character inside-out emotionally. My characters suffer a lot.

Go ask for the raise. The worst thing they can do is say no.