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Writing Books/Is this normal?


Hi Vincent... I'm writing a Romantic Thriller which is currently about half-finished. The opening scene was quite violent, so I suppose that would explain the nightmares I experienced as a result. But there is also a substantial amount of dialogue in the manuscript, and several of the scenes (both the romantic/sexual and the criminal ones), are quite intense. I've grown to love the characters involved and have been placing myself into these scenes (so I can feel what they're feeling at the moment), as I write them. Almost as as if I were acting in a movie. However, when I'm finished writing, I'm emotionally exhausted, not to mention just plain EMOTIONAL! The other day I wrote in a couple who discovers a young woman at the bottom of a cliff, her car upside down, who had been run off the road (by the killer)... and the poor folks assumed she was dead. It was very hard for them to deal with. When I was finished, I told my fiancee about them and how sorry I felt for them and what they'd experienced. Then I nearly started crying! (Lucky he didn't notice). I know they're only fictional characters, but it seems to happen after every intensely emotional scene that I write. My question is... is this normal?


I suppose the flip answer would be:  "What's normal mean, anyway?"

But to answer you more seriously, I'd say... yes, to a degree.  It's very common for a writer to become attached to his/her creations, even to regard them as "real," to an extent.  So I'm not surprised that you're having emotional reactions to them.

On the other hand, it could also be that your emotional reactions to your own story is a therapeutic release for you with regard to things going on in your own life.  A sort of catharsis by proxy.  Are you going through any unusual stress lately?  If so, this could be part of it.

Hope that's helpful.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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