News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

September 28, 2013

A Writer's Fascination with Physical Experiences

I like to write, as I'm sure many of you are aware by now, and I think that one of the many things a good writer always looks for is experience - ways in which one can expand the craft and master the pen.

One part of experience is entirely physical. If you're going to write about it, you can only come close to doing a situation justice if you've actually experienced the thing for yourself. Ever been knocked unconscious by a fall from your valiant steed? You might be a mighty and powerful wordsmith, yet if you've never experienced so much as a simple slip or fall, it will be difficult for you to do justice to a character in a brain-bruising situation.

I think this is one of the reasons a lot of writers are often found saying, "Oh once I've experienced *insert item here* then I'll know exactly how my character feels!" I've seen such people get thrilled with even little things, like the way the setting sunlight accentuates the skin tone of a passing stranger,

"Oh Crowley! Look! He seems just like my MC but I think he's got broader shoulders. It's like the scene out of *names work in progress*. Oh it's beautiful. Let's trail him. I need this moment to last." *proceeds to follow at a distance*


"Agh! Mom, mom, my finger. I slammed it in the door, it's going to fall off."
"Oh, that looks nasty already dear."
"Hurts like stink... oh! Oh this is perfect! Oh this is just what I needed, it burns a bit and tingles. Ok, I need to write it out quick while I remember. It's very similar to what Jesteen feels when Carolwik smashes his hand against the tavern counter with the pommel of his sword. Gah, I hope it doesn't bleed. Ugh. Anyway, it's not just a quick slip and retraction of the hand with a little shake, it's gonna be genuinely painful. Oh dang."
"You might want to put some..." *daughter races up stairs to room* " on it. Oh dear." *mother returns to housework*

pinterest // folks, I really really love wildflowers

Those are a few silly examples; more often than not (at least in my case), the noting and recording of such experiences is an internal and personal one, rather than public. However, let me share something with you.

I've been recently reading a bit before bed and a bit in the morning, just to get my mind going; it gives me something to look forward to as a break from my studies. In any case, in one of the books, the main character is poisoned and the author describes the pain that he feels in detail.

Returning to my situation: I've been subjected to infrequent and surprising bouts of extreme nausea lately (compared to this summer, in which those bouts were much more frequent and lengthy, I'd say it's an upgrade). This afternoon I had a particularly surprising one of great intensity. I was quietly studying in the living room when I felt an upwelling sensation of disturbance at my solar plexus. Within minutes that upwelling had bloomed into a fully-body sweat and terrible, crashing waves of intense heat, and a hardy desire of my stomach to empty itself. It forced me into a rather unbecoming ball of whimpering human flesh. Then, just as soon as it came, it was gone 10 minutes later.

In between sucking air through clenched teeth and threatening to tear the upholstery off the couch, my mind wandered back to the MC that had been poisoned in the book I was reading,

"Good gravy, if this is what he felt like at the onset of being poisoned, then I must truly admire his skill at running miles to the apothecary to find an antitoxin to cure his travel companions and himself."

With that, I made a mental note to attempt the poisoning of a character at some point or other in the future. Do realize, though, that I'm not saying intense nausea is the same as being poisoned, I'm sure the latter is far more unpleasant, particularly if it ends in death. Death is never a fun thing to experience. It generally means the conclusion of life *shrugs*.

Thus, here ends my short discussion of a writer's fascination with physical experiences, both good and painful. I'm sure you'll come to appreciate the maniacal glow in your friend's eye when they whisper, "For the love of authorship!" as they probe at their broken toe, a long-forgotten soccer ball shuddering to a stop in the distance.

Signed with one substantia nigra,



  1. I'm sitting here loling at your examples!

    Great post though!

  2. :P good glory, glad to bring a chuckle or two to the evening; thanks Isaac!

  3. This is accurate! I was quite sick a year or two ago and as I was retching in the bathroom my mind went, "I need to remember this for Dantere!" Us authors are a peculiar bunch.


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