“What is the hardest scene you’ve ever had to write and why?”
Wow. Tough question. Let me think… Ah! Yes, I know – The Dreaded Body Scene. Now the question becomes how much to reveal without dropping a huge spoiler because the hardest scene I’ve written (so far) is in the second book – the one I’m currently racing to finish before my deadline smacks me in the face.
Hmm…the scene… This particular scene haunted me for weeks. Normally I don’t shy from writing about dead bodies. I’m not squeamish by any means, (though I keep the gory bits to a minimum, or at least try to, for others) but The Dreaded Body Scene was really hard for me to sit down and write. I’ll tell you why in a moment. As for the scene itself, let’s just say involves a body in the trunk of a car in a salvage yard and leave it at that.
Now, to address why The Dreaded Body Scene was so difficult… It wasn’t difficult from a literary or technical standpoint because I try not to be too graphic in my descriptions. No, this was difficult on a deeper, more personal, and emotional level. As many of you may (or may not) know, my mother passed away very unexpectedly in December. I won’t go into details but suffice it to say that I was present when she passed. Mom and I were very close and the last few months haven’t been easy, especially when combined with the added stress of a deadline. Within a week or so of Mom’s funeral, I was faced with writing – you guessed it – The Dreaded Body Scene and I chose to handle it as a professional, with grace and dignity.
In other words, I avoided it like the freaking plague for weeks.
However, I couldn’t keep avoiding it even though I sort of like my tags of [Refer to the DBS]. Events later in the book hinge on that scene and what is discovered/uncovered. I eventually found myself in a position where I couldn’t continue without actually tackling The Dreaded Body Scene. So…I did…and I survived.
It wasn’t easy. In fact it was the only scene I wrote that entire day. After writing it, I had to find my Happy Fluffy Place again so I binged on Walt Disney movies and turned to some friends for comfort and fun. Nothing counters the effects of a Dreaded Body Scene like fuzzy faces.
To the far right is Hercules, a Chow/Shepherd mix, who I recently re-inherited from my mother. He's about 13-years old now and not as spry as he used to be, but he's a good companion.
To the left, from the top, are Panic, Disorder, Chaos, and Nugget. Yes, the first three cats do live up to their names. They came as "a set" because they're siblings. Nugget, on the other hand, came later and is a special case. But, that is a story for another day.
Difficult scenes are going to happen, regardless of the "why" behind them. I think the better question would be how do we respond to and cope with them when they occur. For me, animation and warm fuzzy piles of fluff work best.