How to write a wrong

by Julie Frayn on May 8, 2013 in  Writing

I am a passive person. The only drama I want, the only violence I will tolerate, is on my television screen, at the movie theatre, in the novels I read. And in the stories I write.

I have a pretty sweet life. I have good kids. I have a loving family. I have never had a drug habit, never been arrested, never even been in any real trouble. My life is like the first fictional scene I wrote with violence in it. No blood. No anger. I was tiptoeing about the issue. It was nice. Nice violence. Boring scene.

Maybe that’s how I want to live. But who’d want to read about it?

Even though I could never physically hurt someone in the flesh, I found a way to visualize. There’s always someone, living or dead, real or imagined, whose eyes you fantasize about gouging out, right? Someone who could benefit from a good ax murdering? Well, someone from whose ax murder YOU may benefit.

Use them. In your mind of course. Only on the pages of fiction. Not in back alley under the anonymous cover of a moonless night sky.

My awesospatterme editor, Scott Morgan, has a writing mantra – “write for the jugular.” He’s taught me a lot about being brave and facing the tough stuff. So I say take it a step further. Don’t just write for the jugular, slice that puppy wide open. Let blood spurt all over the floors, dip your fingers in it and paint crimson pictures on the wall, leave a scarlet confession on the mirror.

Just don’t be so damn nice about it.

I’ve shot drugs, murdered teenagers, beaten a priest to death, sliced off a husband’s, um, body part, and even forced a young girl into prostitution. Once you get the hang of evil, it starts to come easy.

In fiction only. On the pages of my made up world.

In my boring real life, I’d never do any of those things. I try to right wrongs. But in the fictional realm, I write wrongs. And lots of them.

What do you write that makes you squirm? Or at least used to…

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Frayn May 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

I’m not an author of course, so nothing I write makes me squirm now. My divorce papers though, or the rambling emails to the lawyer – who didn’t mention the cost involved in reading said emails until months later – those made me squirm. Blood and guts of the mind, does that count? <3


Julie May 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Define ‘author.’ Because you are a writer, and the things you write make me squirm at times. Maybe because I see it too? Yes, the whole lawyer/divorce shit was squirm-worthy. I know you can visualize an ax murder 😀 ♥

Desi May 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I’m a really emotional writer, so quite a lot of it makes me uncomfortable, especially now that am older and less concerned about what friends and family might think of my work. I write it, anyway – crying or trembling or sick-to-my-stomach or grinning or whatever the story entails. Intense emotion, violence, suffering and joy come out more-or-less easily for me. It’s the simple sweetness of day-to-day life that I struggle to put into fiction well. Which is ironic, really. I mean, I’ve known violence intimately, but my life has been pretty sweet for a couple of decades, now. You would think I would know how to write that, too!


Julie May 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Darling Desi, I just read “Ten.” I realize it’s not fiction, but it was full of the simple sweetness of day-to-day life. Glad your life has been sweet, and that your intimacy with violence has ended. I wish all such things could be only in fiction and never, ever, real.

Brian Bigelow May 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Finding out things that real serial murderers have done and writing them into my work in progress. Some of it still makes me squirm but not as bad as it used to though.


Julie May 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm

That sewing the husband to the bed thing sounded like fiction – amazing that the real stuff is even stranger than what the imagination fuels!

tricia May 13, 2013 at 11:47 pm

So interesting…my former salaried life was spent learning how to shoot firearms at lifelike targets and then to study the different and horrific ways that real people do bad things to real people. Now, I write about the things that make me happy- and that make others smile. I go for the comedic jugular now- because indexing the really awful things in life is just, well….not very uplifting. :)


Julie May 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Wow, Tricia, that is a weird – and fascinating – job. What job title would that be? Any jugular works – the comedic one is important too. I hate being serious all the time, but find when I write my fictional pieces, gruesome flows from the inkwell! Go figure…

tricia May 13, 2013 at 11:48 pm

That is not to say your work is not uplifting….because good words always are. :)


Julie May 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Thanks for that :). I don’t just do grit for the sake of grit. Someone always perseveres, overcomes, of wins – in one way or another.

Sean P. Farley May 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Um, remind me never to tick you off. 😉


Julie May 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

Never tick me off…. 😀

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