Difficulty Level: Hard

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

85. The most difficult scene or piece you’ve ever written.

This prompt could be looked at in a couple of different ways depending on your definition of “difficult”. The first thought that came into my head was difficult in the emotional sense, in that it was difficult to write because of some personal issue. Then I thought about difficulty in the sense of being hard to write because the words won’t come or you can’t figure out how to explain what you’re imagining.

So in my typical, indecisive manner, I decided to write about both. Lucky you, hmm?

First, emotional difficulty:
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve done some of my best writing while I was depressed, so you would expect that there would be lots of examples of this, but there actually aren’t. I’ve written a lot while depressed, but I’ve rarely written something that made me depressed.

There is one scene, however, that I found very difficult to write emotionally. It wasn’t difficult because of any personal issues; it was difficult because it involved the death of a character. Now call me crazy if you wish (I know some of you are thinking it, don’t lie!) but I know there are lots of writers out there who have my back on this one. I had a very, very difficult time writing the scene because it genuinely hurt. I had invested a lot in this character, had created a person who I cared about. And then, for the good of the story, I had to write about life leaving this character as their friends looked on in horror. I’m not proud…I got a little choked up. It was like choosing to kill a friend. That might seem a little ridiculous to some, but I look at it as a good sign. After all, how can I expect my readers to be touched by the scene if it doesn’t even affect me?

As for literal difficulty, the hardest scene I ever had to write was definitely the first battle scene I ever wrote. It was very difficult because I could visualize what I wanted to be happening, but I couldn’t determine the words I needed to convey that scene. I don’t have a great deal of knowledge about weaponry, swordplay, fighting stances, and so on, so my descriptions boiled down to oversimplified sentences such as, “the swords clashed against one another” and “he dodged and slashed out his own attack”. It drove me mad because as I was writing it I knew that anyone who read it would be imaging something tame and boring, while I had this epic battle raging through my head.

Since that first scene I’ve gotten much more practice writing fights and battles. I’ve made a point of attempting to retain the information I glean from others’ books, as well as from movies and other sources, and I’ve found that it has helped a great deal. To this day I still find battles very difficult, but they are much easier than they used to be, which hopefully means I’m learning. No pain, no gain!

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