Saving the world. One book at a time. So don’t hold back.

I’m a sicko. I admit it. I love to write about evil doing.
Tormentors bursting with vicious acts (but their victims do get revenge). Monstrous villains carrying out cannibalistic carnage with a side dish of torture.  People giving into their most animalistic desires to lose all moral code. It’s so baaaaad – but it feels so fun to write – right?

I rub my hands together in glee and write, the keyboard jolting as my fingers fly. Then cheer as the bad guy gets it good. The protagonist, who suffers at their hands, rises strong to defeat them yet empathizes with their enemy. Yeah! Stick it to em’.  No need for therapy here.

I know. I am sick. I like to shock. My husband knows it and asks “just how the heck did you come up with that stuff?”

Chick lit ain’t for me.
In sitting in on my first writing session led by Kathryn Craft, I thought I chose a fairly tame piece to read. Ahem….I soon realized not so.  Boy, was I glad I didn’t choose the other piece with a little bit of drunken brawl, beating, kidnapping, and whipping going on. Don’t get me wrong I love to read beautiful pieces and get swept up in pure emotion of the heart. Heck, I cry every time I stop and read Hallmark cards in the grocery store. Every damn time. I just can’t WRITE it. (By the way, thanks for having me back Kathryn! )

But seriously, the world needs writers like us.
Just think, if everyone had books and HBO 2,000 years ago people wouldn’t have gotten their angst out. We would never have had mighty wars or gladiators carrying out bloody duels of pain and misery. Limbs being torn off. Beasts clawing at you. Chariots stomping over people.

Ahhhhh.  Gladiator. Favorite movie of all time. Ooh, when that chick gladiator gets sliced in half. Love it!

Love it because it’s not real.
Like our writing. But we can FEEL its realness. And that’s what we want to achieve, right? Let’s stop for a moment, pause and stare here at my perfect Gladiator man. (…sigh.  Russell. He should always look like this.)

Heck, the whole Roman Empire might never have forged  to rule the world. The Emperor would have stopped after the First Punic War, sat down to read and said “Them Carthaginians ain’t such a bad lot. That’s enough for conquest for me. Gee, am I glad I got that out of my system. Now let me finish this Stephen King.”

People had no creative outlet in ancient times for their darkness inside (of course they had no air conditioning either so the heat probably added to their pissed-offness).

Now we can safely do all that messy, nasty stuff on paper, rather than a slave’s flesh or our jerk neighbor’s. We can now witness evil at play in a world of order without hurting anyone.

We writers are saving the world, one book at a time. One book written and read to make a person feel sad, angry, tense, enraged, in love, content, at peace.  An outlet for all great emotions. No need to act on our emotions when we can feel them so intensely with words on the page drawing us in to pain and beauty and other worlds.

I wanted to name my son Maximus (yeah, that got nixed).  I can hear the cries now. Maximus! Maximus! The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor.  

Awesome stuff! I mean look at him in that role. All that raw feeling.  Rage and primitive frenzy. What power. Plunging your sword into flesh, WOW. Just imagine doing that. Wouldn’t that make you feel better at times? We can do it, in our writing.

Bottom line: Writing is cathartic. Writing gives us power to reveal our inner most desires and rages through a carefully crafted veil of characters. Writing brings out the animal in us and tames it at times with beauty and softness.

Final words:
Maximus: Do you find it difficult to do your duty?
Cicero: Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time,
I do what I have to.

I am trying to get more on the “sometimes I do what I want to do” side in my world as a writer.  So what do you enjoy writing that fuels your blood? (or blood lust as mine does).



Filed under Inspirational

9 responses to “Saving the world. One book at a time. So don’t hold back.

  1. Lee Lamond

    Donna…I made the hero in my book, Austin, six foot three and two forty for a reason. It gives him the capacity to beat the living snot out of anyone that gets in his nice guy way, and to make it hurt. I completely agree that living the life of our heros is cathartic. Being 5′ 8″, it is probably not a good idea for me to start beating people up. Living through Austin gives me the chance to feel better without the risk to my own hide.

    The current title of my book is “Spoils of the Game”. I thought about calling it “Four Murders and a Happy Ending”, but that sounded too much like something you might get at Friendly’s.


  2. Lee, your wit makes me laugh as usual! You could still be a hero at 5’8″. Loved your piece in the workshop this weekend, by the way. Thanks for the post.

  3. Randi

    Hate to meet up with you in the dark ages, fortunately it appears your writing gives you the outlet you need. You seem so mild mannered. Are you sure pissed-offness is a word? Love the blogs as usual – always leaves me with something to think about.

  4. In my latest novel, I found myself simultaneously hating and falling in love with my “bad guy”. I enjoyed his tirades as much as I enjoyed the protagonist surviving them. I thought, “How am I going to do justice to this character if I love AND hate him? How will I ever make up my mind of what to do with him?” In the end, he decided for me and I think that’s exactly what needed to happen! But I totally agree–torturing characters is immense fun!

  5. Hey Jess, I am right there with you! I so felt for my antagonist in last novel, he was a tormented soul. Its fun to enjoy writing from both sides – of dark and light.

  6. LOL I love tormenting my characters. Pull ’em down to the depths of Hell then rise them up to fulfill their destiny. Nothing better when you’re having a bad day!

    Have a Sparkling Day!
    Rebecca Rose

  7. I love that you wanted to name your son Maximus! That’s awesome.

  8. What I love about you Donna is what I love in my literary heroes: the disconnect. You are such a cheerleader at the workshops, pointing out what others do right in that sweet voice of yours and looking at them with those warm puppy eyes–and then you read from your work, where brains are popping in a head vice! It cracks me up.

    What I enjoy writing are scenes where the characters just et it rip, and say things with a bluntness I’d never have the courage to use in real life.

  9. Pingback: My top picks for 2011: posts and pals | Donna Galanti, Author

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