One of the most common questions I have received lately has to do with writing serial killer scenes. Is it difficult to write these types of scenes? Well the simple answer is yes, it can be very difficult. It can be difficult for a variety of reasons: balancing accuracy and creative input, how much detail, making sure it adds to the story, no unnecessary violence, etc.
In all honesty, because of my outlining process and book organization, I know when I have to write a stressful scene and I do so at the best possible time for me. There’s a delicate balance to writing crime fiction and not adding to the already stressful real world of crime and bad guys. I keep in mind that I want to tell an exciting story with some insight into the criminal mind and crime scene investigation. I want to engage the reader with suspense and mystery, not stress them out.
When I sit down to write I make sure that my time is efficient with approximately four to five solid hours of work. Although, some days turn out to be unproductive no matter what I try to do — such as life. I’m not the type of writer that can sit at my desk for ten to twelve hours a day pounding away at a keyboard. I think I would turn into the infamous “Jack” from the movie The Shining if I did. I commend all you writers out there that can accomplish a long writing day. I guess I’m a bit wimpy in that regard. I may sound a bit like a delicate flower (or a fussy hothouse orchid), but it’s how I manage to keep my energy high and enthusiasm intact to write a suspenseful story.
With every story project, I’ve managed to learn a few things about myself and about my level of stress when writing. Being able to detach from a story in progress is so important – at least for my Type A personality type. Sounds simple, but it’s often very difficult. Once I’ve set the story in motion, it’s in my mind at every moment of the day even when I’m eating, sleeping, and relaxing. Yikes!
I started to become prone to anxiety issues, so I’ve added to my day what I like to call my dream time. I take a couple of breaks throughout the day for about 5-10 minutes to become aware of what’s happening at that exact moment. No worrying about what I didn’t get done or what I need to get done, I just sit comfortably and breathe, completely absorbed in the here and now. I put myself in a comfortable place that makes me feel relaxed. I tend to gravitate to quiet outdoor places, especially at the beach, to hear the sounds and feel the breeze on my face. All of these photos were taken from places I love to visit regularly.
It’s amazing, I feel refreshed and energized after my mini dream escape. For me, it’s how I can keep writing about stressful situations, heinous killers, and delve inside the criminal mind.
What’s your dream place to relax in your mind?
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Love the idea of your dream time. I have a mental walk along a path, through a grove of trees, sundappled and quiet. It works!
Love the image of walking along a quiet path! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Great idea, Jennifer, have a dream time whenever the pressure builds up…much better than a coffee and chocolate (which is what I have), so much more slimming! Brava! But then, I live in Italy and who can resist a good espresso?
Why not do both? 🙂 Thanks Claude for stopping by!