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How to Write About Pain

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As William Goldman wrote in The Princess Bride, life is pain. As writers and as people, we do stupid things and we suffer. Sometimes we do the right things and we still suffer because other people do stupid things or the natural world exerts its power over us. As Christians, we call that fallenness . Some of the pain caused by our fallenness is transient, and other pain is constant. None of us can escape it, and sometimes overcoming it seems impossible, but we can use it. That fallenness—and how we deal with it—becomes the foundation of who we are. Our societies, our lives, and our art (yes, that includes writing) is an outpouring of how we perceive and deal with suffering. So how do we authentically address our real-life traumatic experiences in our writing? Even harder, how do we address the experiences of other people in a way that doesn’t cheapen or caricature their suffering? In the process of drafting my current work in progress, my fantasy novel Life to Give , I’ve spent