They say that pain can sometimes help clarify your thoughts. Nope! I disagree completely. After spending 3 hours in the ER last night with great amounts of pain due to a kidney stone half the size of a dime, the only thing clear to me was how much I hurt. I’m not going to lie, that was a pain in the Angst.
And I Thought Throwing Up Was Bad
Whining aside, a lot of what I write comes from experience. An old friend of mine who critiqued Angst felt there was a little too much vomiting for her taste. While she was the only one to point that out, I can understand. It’s definitely gross, but it’s also something everyone has experienced. Throwing up has always been top of my list in things to avoid (it’s now #2 after kidney stones). I hate it, which means it’s a great tool to torture my characters.
A New Experience
With my experiences broadened, I can now move past mere vomiting and introduce kidney-stone-level pain to my characters. This new threshold may include turning pale, sweating, writhing in pain (picture Captain Kirk rolling around on the ground any time a villain used one of the infamous belt weapons), and my new favorite, a small tear in the corner of the eye.
Fantasy books are about imagination, but real life experiences can add a hint of realism to the story. Books are always more compelling when it feels like there is a genuine threat to succeeding and a cost to the characters’ actions. It doesn’t always have to be a death. Terrible odds with great risks and a bit of pain makes a successful outcome more rewarding.
A Pain In The Angst
I’m happy that I can turn the pain in my Angst into a resource for better writing. Now what am I going to do when I have to write about dragons?