Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Trauma definition: Noun,
A deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may be associated with physical shock and sometimes leads to neurosis.
An event or situation that causes great distress and disruption.

Here is an example of how a past trauma influences our protagonist’s actions/thoughts in the now of the story. Back story is an important tool which can be used to give the reader a sense of the protagonist’s past, reasons for certain behaviors, and depth. It also helps the reader decide whether or not they are sympathetic to her.

Her abductor had broken her down, insinuated his essence into her very being. Soon she would be beyond help. Did she want help? She had no knowledge of the person she’d become. Everything in her screamed to escape: to never let this man touch her again. Everything in her wanted to stay and feel the call of his tremendous need, which somehow echoed in her. But his need also recalled her past, a past she’d spent the better part of her life trying to forget. She didn’t want to face it in the light of day ever again. ©2011

Does this make you want to know more, or feel sympathy for her? Notice the trauma is only eluded to in this paragraph, not described. That will come later, or might have been explained in another context in the novel. Like maybe through Alban Thain’s research? Trauma is a great tool and also serves to add drama and action to your story.

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  1. Lovely post Lisa thank you. This is extremely dramatic and traumatic. A useful tool indeed in crafting one's novel.
    Susan Scott's Soul Stuff

    1. Thanks Susan, it isn't as easy as one might think to write trauma that isn't cheap thrills fear...

  2. Hi Lisa .. great telling - I get 'really frightened' at thinking about these kind of things ... I just find them difficult to read, or watch tv or film .. or think about .. but you've certainly created something psychologically chilling here ..

    Cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary. I don't usually write in this genre, but this was one of those stories that came and pounded on my door until I wrote it...

  3. It makes me want to know more.....the 'whys' and 'hows' sound interesting :)

  4. That's a place of desperation. My main character was affected by an event, but not to that extent.


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