“What’s wrong with you?”

That was the question a police officer asked me when I told him about one of the crime scenes in my upcoming novel, “Spider’s Truth”.

I’d laughed at the time, but the comment made me think.  How do we as writers create such horrific scenes and still maintain our sanity? Horror, sci fi, fantasy, crime fiction, murder mysteries–all these genres have extreme elements in them. Some authors have actually dabbled in fields that bring them close to these intense scenes, but for many writers, myself included, I couldn’t imagine dealing with these things on a day-to-day basis.

I write fiction because I can do anything with it–but I know it’s not real. I’m impressed with all the individuals (police officers, EMT’s, military, detectives, ER doctors, etc.) who deal with this everyday to make real life better.

Thanks to all of you for being there in real life when we need you.


  1. I think we can maintain our sanity because as writers (the good ones anyway) we take ourselves out of the equasion and let the events happen as they would. If we dumb it down or euphamise the situation, it feels milquetoast; it feels…not quite real. There are scenes that I’ve written (poems too) where I go back and read what I wrote weeks later and recoil from my monitor. As a sane, decent person, violence of any sort should provoke this reaction.

    But then, you think “That came out of ME?” and it gets freakier. I think it’s not so much that it comes out of us, but instead we can take our imagination to extremes, taking incidents that are cold hard fact and magnify them with hyperbolie for dramatic effect.

    Or the PMRC and their ilk were right all along and the movies we watch and music we listen too are warping our brains. Six or half a dozen.

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I agree that the Police are heros. They are underpaid and underappreciated.
    I have scenes in my novels that I’ve shyed away from writing because they are too gruesome or graphic, but would make great scenes for the novel. Rape scenes, murder scenes creep me out and stop me from writing them.
    Even sex scenes in erotic fiction I tried to write. Anyone who can write these scenes is very brave.

  3. tom k

    As someone who worked in a Sheriff’s Department for 25 plus years as an admistrator, not a deputy, I continued to be amazed at their dedication and willingness to put their life on the line each day. I always tell people you could never pay me enough to do those jobs. The fact that so few deputies, officers, corrections staff etc. ever cross the line during their interactions with so many people who care nothing for the rule of law is a tribute to all those in law enforcement.

    P.S.I am really looking forward to your detective novel.

  4. mom

    that’s a big AMEN! they are true heroes, and i, for one, couldn’t get along without them. i’m so glad they’re out there and have the go-to personalities to help with our daily problems.

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