My family does not talk about the ugly things. A list of subjects I have rarely heard mentioned: throwing up, popping pimples, farting, cleaning up after a sick loved one, going to the bathroom, having a pelvic exam, descriptions of cruelty. In the same way, we don’t discuss the darkest of our emotions or experience. All of us have experienced pain, but when we talk about it, it is “emotion recollected in tranquility.” This editing of experience informs my writing, in that I don’t usually want to write about the ugly realities.
- Choose one of your own main characters or a character you identify with, like James Bond, Spock, Katherine from The Taming of the Shrew, Ula in the Producers, or Agent 99.
- Think of a subject that you would not discuss readily–your own taboo.
- Write a scene in which the wonderful character has to deal with the undesirable subject.
- Here’s the kicker: write against type. If the taboo is a bodily function, go for drama. If the taboo is violence or death, try for comedy or romance.
Yes, I know that you wouldn’t show this piece to anyone, but it’s an exercise. Stretch.