For the record, I do like writing. It’s the editing and the constant revising I hate. Either it results in a better story, or in me pulling my hair out from the roots…
So, I wanted to talk a little about the short story I wrote titled Please. I sent it out to betas and more edits will result from that, but I figured now was an okay time to start talking about it.
I’ve talked about writing darker topics and this is the story that has a darker theme to it. It centers around Hayley, a girl who’s had a rough past filled with abuse, homelessness, and hardship. She is just on the verge of getting her life back together when she’s abducted. Forced submission and what it does to her becomes the focus of this piece. I see it as a matter of doing what you need to in order to survive, and it makes me ask myself what I’d do if I were in a similar situation.
It’s interesting what the mind can take, and what it will do in order to cope. When we’re in pain, when we’re scared, the mind works to protect us. Is enjoying what you initially hate a matter of coping the best you know how, or delusion? Good question.
So why did I write a story with themes that are dark and that people tend to shy away from? Because it’s necessary. I’ve had things happen in my past that trap and cripple, but they don’t define me. This story is darker because sometimes I write to make sense of things.
Darker topics tend to garner responses from both readers and writers. Some good and some bad.
To be clear, themes such as bondage and rough sex do not darker themes make. Just as enjoying or wanting to enjoy those things does not make someone a deviant, contrary to what some misinformed people believe. There is nothing wrong with wanting to explore, read, or write about those things.
The risk is that my story – which isn’t happy, but will end better than I originally planned – will turn people away. It may repulse because it isn’t a romance with a happy ending of love (I’m tempted to make it happy, but I’m hesitant to do so). It’s hard, dark, and ugly in places. But do we hide the harder things away just because it isn’t well received? Some people don’t want to read that, which makes me wonder what I’m going to do with this story.
For now, I’ll at least give a character profile of Hayley.
Age: 21 years old
Quote: The first thrust was painful, but she felt a degree of relief. Just like the other times. She’d just let him use her and he’d be on his way. That was her chant as the cot clattered beneath them. Hayley could collect her sanity, her dignity, after he finished. She could survive this, too.
Eye Color: Hazel
Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Working at a souvenir shop in L.A.
Relationship Status: Single. Though that changes against her will as the story progresses
Love interest(s): None. She’s never met anyone worth falling in love with.
Goals: To survive or escape.
Hardships to overcome: The craziness of the man who abducted her.
Faults: Fear isn’t a fault, but it’s had a tendency to keep her in one place and quiet even if it means she gets hurt.
What would I tell you about Hayley? She’s that girl who’s been hurt all her life, who feels like nothing comes to her except pain. She keeps holding on for something good to come her way even though it hasn’t happened yet. Enough hope lives in her soul to keep her going. She wants to survive and I think someday she will. The story has ended far different that it started out. I know Hayley better after looking into her life, and I like her. Strength lives beneath her fear.
Now to figure out what I’m going to do with this story…
Best of luck with the story – I would certainly read it out of interest!
Thanks. More editing happening so I’ll need all the luck I can get.
Hi there lady, I know my comment is about my own ripping self that sits opposing Hayley’s mindset, but her goals – bother me, make me angry at the abuser, make me wonder how there can be nothing more than escape and survival. I get it cognitively but (heres the survival mindset in me) where does her mind go even to imagine what she wants out of life if she were never abused and defeated. Even a fantasy to live off of. Frankly, what keeps her from suicide? just thinking out loud and darkness doesn’t easily push me away.
That’s something I’ve been thinking about. I haven’t been considering what’s her reasons for surviving. Editing has been tedious and I think I needed your comment to help me think.
Honestly, I think she the fantasy she holds inside is that she’ll meet someone who truly loves her and wants to give her the things she’s been missing. Thanks for making me think.
So I’m wondering if as a survival mechanism she pretends/fantasizes that her abuser is her lover. By that I mean, while he is abusing her does her mind go to some sort of a fantasy that makes this OK for her, that makes it enjoyable. She can still hate the reality that he doesn’t care about her but does her world become one of fantasy to survive?
Hm… Hadn’t thought about that, but now I am. Your comment and Jayne’s has my mind moving. Bless you because I am so stuck.
Yeah, I’m with Jayne here. When I read your last paragraph about Hayley, this line stuck out for me: “She keeps holding on for something good to come her way even though it hasn’t happened yet.” If nothing good has ever come to her, that’s become her norm. So how does she know what “good” is and what “something better” is? She must have developed a concept of these things in some way/shape/form. (From TV? Books? Other people she knows? Other people she used to know?) The darkness is fine if it brings tension. Conflict in some form or other is what drives storylines. For Hayley to just accept her life and what’s happening to her is boring, and too passive for a main character. (IMHO.) I like the inherent conflict of her situation, but I’d ditch the “or just survive” part of her thoughts. She can do what she has to do to get through her rapes, but it has to be while she’s planning her escape.
I think that’s what I want her to think about herself. I’m not sure that’s what she actually communicates. Really at this point I’m just tired of trying to puzzle my way out of this.
The story has/had promise, but I’ve revised it enough times that I’m not sure what it is now. I’m beginning to think I may scrap it all together.
The premise is indeed interesting
Yeah. Now to make it worth reading.