Short-Story-Writing-Exercises-old

Group: Short Story Writing Exercises - old

Pain or no pain.

Being a writer, I've always been told that my writing is good because I write about past experiences that many people relate to. I once heard that in order to be a good writer, you need to have gone through something drastic. Do you all believe that? Yes, I went through something horrible and that's where most of my inspiration comes from but I think even if that didn't happen, I'd be writing some good stuff. People just have an amazing inagination regardless of what they went through. What's your view on that?


Daniela Bustamante

8th February 2013


I think that when something tragic happens in an otherwise, normal life, it opens our eyes to other possibilities. We no longer see the world through rose-colored glasses. It allows our creativity to flow into other areas and we have a greater depth of understanding to what lies underneath the surface of one's actions.

Instead of simply describing an event, we delve deeper into the back story of why it might of happened in the first place. We are able to anticipate thoughts, feelings and emotions that we maybe didn't understand before our own personal tragedy occurred.


Cindy Beitinger

8th February 2013


Most things I write about never happened to me. What I do is I allow a person to confide in me and I let them vent it out so i can read their emotions until I am able to empathize with them. Then I write about it through their eyes. I am pretty spot on most of the time but to be there, I have to listen deeply and cross question them until they tell me their exact emotions. Apparently That relaxes them as they say after confiding in me they feel better. Maybe because I don't judge anyone.

I am never able to write about any emotion I had because in always trying to find an excuse for the other person I can't just complain too much, so it's a rotten thing to write about, so I don't write about me but about others.

You don't have to feel pain to write about it, you need to empathize with the one in pain, and try to imagine how you would feel until you can replicate that emotion. Then write a masterpiece. :)

Maybe I am just sensitive.
That's my humble opinion. .:)


Asma Ahsan

9th February 2013


Cindy, very true. I totally agree with you. Thank you for that :)

Asma, when you wrote that piece for those who have lost their mother, it completely hit home. Beautifully done. I really like what you're doing, I may even give it a try!


Daniela Bustamante

8th February 2013


Thats the point - to inspire each other. Write a story on the same theme, of losing your mother, and we will objectively discuss the characters and the plot as I enjoy that. Will help you later if you write book reviews.


Asma Ahsan

9th February 2013


I have a story a wrote about my mother passing, I will post it soon!


Daniela Bustamante

8th February 2013


Oh - I am so sorry! I didnt realise you were talking about yourself! I am so tactless!!!


Asma Ahsan

9th February 2013


No need to apologize! It's okay :)


Daniela Bustamante

8th February 2013


Phew! That was a close one. Write about your mom only if you comfortable talking about it. One good idea, if you ever decide to go public about it to just remember the good times and the good advice she gave you s you can pass it on to others as her legacy, I lost my grandmother in 1995, and even today I quote her, she was closer to me that my mom. Still, your. Pain is very fresh and you are very young, so try not to go too deep as it will upset you too much.

Good to read you always. :)


Asma Ahsan

9th February 2013


To be honest, I feel comfortable only when wiring about my mom. It's an escape for me. I lost her when I was 11 so it did t really affect me until I was in my late teens. I find it hard to write positive when it comes to her because of the hurt. But at this point, I'm trying really hard to see the light in her death. It's hard but it's good to be reminded of the good times.

I'm also sorry for your loss. I know how that is. I lost my grandmother right after my mother. Life is life.


Daniela Bustamante

8th February 2013


Pain or no pain...An interesting subject.
There are many types of pain, physical, emotional, mental, undeserved, the pain of betrayal, etc.
Much depends on how your mind can support all these different pains.
Even the pain of writer's block, an uninspired mind, frustration, still painful.

If we are born then we must die, especially when people get old.
An accident, operation, beatings, etc. all physical pain, depending on your pain threshold.
The loss of someone close, child, parent, friend or a good person, all emotional.
Being weak, trapped in one's mind, disillusioned with the world, having mental expectations.
The hurt of being betrayed, goes very deep and at times can last a lifetime.

Don't know if I'm making any sense? but I personally, have a strong pain threshold. However, certain things seep quite deep breaking through many protective layers of emotions, especially when it is to do with family, then my mental state suffers. Betrayals hurt me deeply, especially when they are unexpected and undeserved!

Writer's block, doesn't worry me, for that is just an outlet, not a career.
We all have different versions of pain or no pain. Depends what pains YOU, the individual!


Davide Castel

9th February 2013


Lucy, I don't have any pain threshold. I have noticed it. I can't even cry at the right time. It's like the pain comes on me and sweeps my body, freezing my mind, then receding to leave a blank dull numb nothingness behind. I think I block the pain automatically, then I have to think about it over a long period of time and the pain comes slowly, in episodes. That makes it easy for me deal with the pain as well as be able or have a normal life. Some may call it depression maybe, or apathy, both dangerous conditions, but while in the healing phase, I can still relate to others and their pain and I can pray and never feel suicidal at all, or wonder why it happened to me. I just accept pain for what it is and try to deal with it. I am very slowwhen it comes to healing.

Daniela, you were 11 when she passed away. Do you even remember her properly? Why not write about how she made you feel at that time? Real incidents that happened. Not why she went away. First drag her memories out so you can feel her in your life again, be it by memory only. Dont be scared it will hurt you, it wont. If I go to the market and see a piece of cloth, I immediately remember the day my mom got one like it for the my grandmother and she didnt like it so she wrinkled her nose in that cute way. Then I remember details like what she was wearing that day and how her hair looked and how she had kissed me that day on my cheek and how her hand had felt like. I can relive it. And when I stop reliving it, it's like I had just gone in the past and visited her,

Try this technique, remember the good times now, the hugs, the closeness, and write about that only. Try it, it's the best healing technique I know.


Asma Ahsan

9th February 2013


I trained as an actor and a good parallel to think about was that Stanislavski the father of modern acting in 'the method' that Robert DE Nir and Marlon Brando adopted is that you don't need to have broken a leg to be able to act how a person might feel. He advises to think of generic things such as shock, discomfort, mobility challenges. In writing I don't believe that you need to have experienced anything desperate to write great literature.
Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights about 19th centur yorkshire life and many say it is one of the mos insightful passionate novels of that era. She wrote about violence,after-life, necrophelia etc. nd she was a young girl living alone mostly living alone at home.

So write about personal loss if you want. We can relate to loss. But youcould take a different angle on it.

At Christmas I dropped some keys whilst opening my door Christmas Eve. I flashed back to memories of being 5 walking back through the snow with a brother and three sisters and mum and dad fro midnight mass. Dad dropped the keys andthen mum had to g around the back way of our house and let us in. As children we didn't see through their playful charade but were excited to see that Santa had delivered presents under the tree whilst we had been out. This was a begining of thoughts on my father dying last year in a nursing home after 7 years suffering with alzhemers.


John Ramsbottom

10th February 2013


Lucy, I really like what you had to say. I read it over and over. Very true. Thank you.

Asma, I have a really good memory. It's a bit scary how much I remember but I am starting to forget the small details like what her voice sounded like or her laugh. If you asked me to describe her, it would be really vague. Some people think that it's just that I dont want to talk about it but I was pretty young. I'm really trying to write about her in a positive way. What I've been doing is writing down positive things people say when we are talking about her.. Then I can elaborate on that.

John, wow! I totally wasn't expecting that. I'll take that into consideration; I love that!


Daniela Bustamante

11th February 2013


We are here to read you. Take your time. :)


Asma Ahsan

12th February 2013


For me it's the only way I know how to write, and that's from my life. It's all I have, I cannot write about something I have not experienced. Although I have an active imagination the core of my ideas will always consist of pain, suffering and joy.

In my opinion what makes u a good writer is how real you are with yourself.


Robert Harris

12th February 2013


Robert, I could only write about my own experiences only too, untill some time back I decided to write a third person perspective. For that I need ideas so I read up a lot now, on different stories, articles, watch movies and get inspiration to write about anything fantasy even that is about characters not present in my personal life. I just have to research more if i write about a third person and imagine I am them, like an actor learns a part.


Asma Ahsan

12th February 2013


Robert, see that's how I feel. I mean exactly how I feel! I totally understand you.


Daniela Bustamante

12th February 2013


I agree with both Robert and Daniela but I can take past experiences and relate them to new ideas. Experience helps us to make a more believable story. I am fascinated how writers like J.K. Rowling can explore unknown worlds and make them come to life in such vivid detail. I wish I had that kind of gift. It makes me wonder what experience may have allowed her imagination to grow and flourish like that.


Cindy Beitinger

12th February 2013


Cindy, read over what you wrote; you have your own unique gift :)


Daniela Bustamante

12th February 2013


Thank you very much Daniela. I guess we all do.


Cindy Beitinger

12th February 2013


Cindy, I read an interview by J.K. Rowling where she said that she had been inspired by fantasy writers all her life. She also loved Lord of the Rings and other books written in a fantasy adventure style. I think reading up on other people's ideas can also inspire you as if they happened to you if you are a sensitive reader and pick up the mood of the writer. Harry Potter is one of a kind. I am in awe of that woman and her wonderful eye for detail and keeping us on our toes. She is one of a kind!


Asma Ahsan

12th February 2013


Yes she is! :)


Cindy Beitinger

12th February 2013


While I am not a fan of Harry Potter, I really admire J.K. in an interview I remember her saying that she poured herself into the character "Harry Potter". So this book/s is somewhat a reflection of her inner self, She has touched many lives with her writing and I love her for that.

I think that's what it's all about, expressing a part of yourself while touching other's lives in the process. If Harry Potter did not impact lives it surely would not have sold as many as it did.


Robert Harris

14th February 2013


Many writers use their writing as a catharsis to explore and deal with raw emotions often related to the loss of a loved one.

I think that is a great source for writing and to become a good writer but I don't believe that you have to have experienced pain physical or emotional to write well.

Stanislavski the father of the method acting style and some say of moder acting said that you don'thave to break your own leg to know it hurts.By that I mean that if you consider
where why how which who when and then consider feelings through the five senses and then give it a character(s) and a setting in time past present future and a place then from that build a story.

Your loss though sad may be as important to someone who lost a job. Bereavement is a strange thing and effects people differently.

Draw from your life but write creatively.

'Effort will get you from A-B

Imagination will get you from A-Z '

Albert Einstein


John Ramsbottom

14th February 2013


Do you need to have gone through something drastic to be a good writer? No. Some people can write well by using only their five senses and their imagination, as has already been stated. Drastic circumstances, pain, only give you a deeper more intense knowledge of your "inner" self. You have more "colors" and more shades of "colors" in your repertoire, but you still have to be able to "paint" in such a way that your audience can understand and identify with what you are trying to communicate.

So do drastic life circumstances which cause personal pain make for a good writer? Yes and no. You must possess the entire package. Personal pain is only part of the package.


Jim Miller

18th February 2013


Daniela if you could please post these types of discussions in the group called "All Things Scribeslice" I would really appriciate it. This group is intended for writing exercises only. If you do not belong to the group you can join at any time. Thanks.


Deborah Boydston

18th February 2013


I agree with what most of you are saying, I do write about what I have been through in life because it's important not to forget about your past. But also I do like writing about other subjects to make my writing more interesting.


Raymond lloyd Williams

19th February 2013


Please Login or Signup to continue this discussion.


Next discussion: Why Are Scribers Posting Things In The Wrong Category?