About Writers, Research, Uncategorized, writing technique

Challenging Moments

We all have those challenging moments when life changes in that moment. One might think writers relish writing about their own intense moments. It is, after all, when life shows us our limits and opportunities. Many great fictional characters are forged in the fire of  intense personal experience. But writing honestly is difficult when it’s personal.
So, let’s do something difficult. Use the comments section to describe a moment when your life did or could have drastically changed. I’ll start:

 +++When World War II ended, Mom married a soldier. Like most men who spent years killing people, he had PTSD. We called it a bad temper. The soldier taught me honesty, pride in independence, the value of hard work and he occasionally beat Mom unconscious. I vividly remember standing with my own head scarcely above the man’s knee, looking down at my mother lying on the floor. I feared him until I was a teen and pointed a shotgun at him. “If you ever hit my mother again, I will kill you. I’m sixteen. They will put me in a home for juvenile delinquents. But I will get out when I’m eighteen and you will be dead.” The shotgun was loaded, the safety was off and my finger felt the trigger. If he had risen from the kitchen table, I would have shot him.


8 thoughts on “Challenging Moments

  1. mimispeike says:

    Yeah, got to think. I have nothing as dramatic as your story, GD. But plenty of small moments that stick with me. I have a handful of what I call defining moments.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I had a couple of moments that sprang to mind, but nothing to match that, GD. It strikes deep. Even if expressing it raw like that is difficult, maybe such experiences are an indirect path to the need to write, and come out in different ways.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. GD Deckard says:

    Thanks, guys.
    I wrote that just to describe an example. Carl’s suggestion had me happily contemplating how to rewrite it as a flash story but then other comments came in from people who already see it as a story.

    Intense personal experience may be a better source of stories than I thought. We may be on to something here. If we dredge up things we don’t want to talk about and work that experience into our writing, we might touch more people. One comment about this story went, “I actually know someone with a very similar story. It’s like a right of passage for the children in that situation. I’m sure that happens on multiple levels in every family.” So, the things in our life that we hesitate to share might find many readers who, through their own understanding, identify with our experience. Those readers could become fans.


  4. mimispeike says:

    I have to think that the pivotal moment for me was my first weekend in college.

    I grew up in a hyper-controlling environment. We kids were expected to be next-to-perfect. I have always felt my father was trying to use us to prove to the world what a superior person he was. My mother couldn’t help us, she was a frightened mouse, it drove her to alcoholism. No one was allowed to express an opinion that my father didn’t like. He found an issue of Ms magazine on the coffee table once and blew up, screaming, I won’t have this filth in my house. I was angry all the time. I shut down, wouldn’t talk to anyone.

    At college, the former good girl ran wild from the first weekend, from then on making endless self-destructive decisions. Until I met my husband, who has done a wonderful job of helping me recover from my self-inflicted wounds.

    I plow a lot of that familial turmoil into my story. I’ve finally found a use for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mimispeike says:

    In my story, the father who left his wife for her sister, had another family, then went back to his wife, that was my paternal grandfather. Plenty of weird on my mother’s side as well. There’s hardly anything emotional in Sly that I don’t speak from experience on.

    Liked by 1 person

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