How To Describe Pain In Writing
Pain is a common human experience, so it is also a universal component of storytelling. It is the source of many of our best metaphors and writings. Characters in fiction suffer as a result of their resemblance to our personal experiences.
Pain is difficult to express in words because it is a subjective and ill-defined experience. Pain has some similarities to target domains that have been extensively studied in cognitive linguistics.
It can be challenging for authors to write a character’s pain in an authentic, raw, but not “one-note” manner.
This post will go over how to describe pain in writing. So, how do you convey to your audience that your character is in the most unbearable pain of their lives? Because pain is still a matter of human strength. A short-lived but intense pain may be easier to deal with than a long-lasting but dull pain.
How to Describe Pain in Writing
Describe The Backstory of Pain
Backstory in a story serves two primary functions: revealing important information about the protagonists and depicting a fully realized world. The author includes all of the information about a character’s past in his backstory, demonstrating how he became the person he is today.
Having your characters’ lips quiver and their eyes well up with tears is the best way to convey sadness. Writers can elicit an emotional response from their readers more effectively if they allow readers to feel they are experiencing what the character is experiencing. To have a more significant impact, evoke strong emotions. Related: How to Convey Emotion in Writing
Your hero’s arm was severed during an epic battle, and simply telling the reader that he felt the worst pain he’s ever felt won’t suffice.
Incorporating a wide range of common descriptors and physiological responses may be the best solution. Because of the emotional reaction that occurs when things slow down, it is easy to fall into the trap of repeating yourself when writing about pain and injury.
Write About Pain’s Consequences
It’s possible that your character’s suffering will be fleeting. Alternatively, it could have resulted in an injury that necessitates time off work. It’s possible that your character’s suffering will be brief. It’s also possible that it caused damage that will need time to recover from.
When describing pain, think about how you might express your physical and emotional reactions. It’s pointless to include injuries and pain if nothing happens as a result of them. So, think about how long you want your character to be affected by the pain and hurt you want them to experience.
Why not write about how his voiceless state affects his ability to make sounds or how his mute condition affects his ability to hear? What is the pattern and appearance of the pain? Make them stumble and suffer to get their balance back. Draw an expression of terror, humiliation, surprise, or rage on their faces. There is a lot more to life than pain.
Story Should Have an Arc For Pain
Painful stories are always popular. However, telling a good story is not as simple as it appears. It necessitates a solid dedication to the craft and a willingness to learn and master the various elements and techniques.
What caused this to happen? And other questions should be addressed in a personal narrative for the sake of your characters’ anguish. Was it your fault? What information can you provide about the setting and how the protagonist ended up here?
Remember to use all of your senses when expressing pain. The odor of blood and other bodily fluids, as well as the sound of the injury, are all essential factors to consider. We frequently hear something before we realize what has happened. Another type of injury occurs when we do not feel pain until we see the harm or blood; this usually occurs when we receive a clean, sharp cut rather than a cut from something that tears the skin, such as an open wound.
Be Real About Character Pain
We’ve all seen it in a movie: the antagonist or protagonist can keep fighting no matter what happens. Count how many times you yelled at the screen/page after waking up, “They should be dead by now!” When a character is in physical pain, readers expect their abilities to change. A 9th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu red belt, for example, is unlikely to be able to withstand much more pain.
Fantasy and sci-fi, where the world-building rules allow for it, and action/adventure with characters like Jason Bourne, who refuse to give up no matter what, are genres that lend themselves better than others to acute pain tolerance. Of course, some genres encourage or even demand the inclusion of superhuman traits, but you must draw the line somewhere for the sake of your audience.
If you want to keep your writing raw and gritty, pain thresholds are essential. When your readers start to worry that your protagonist won’t make it, you know you’ve done an excellent job of portraying their agony. To avoid alienating your audience and turning your characters into cartoonish stereotypes, it’s critical to maintain a realistic tone in your writing. Some things can be exaggerated for dramatic effect, but not every aspect of your story.
While writing a novel or any story, you must ask yourself, How significant is suffering to your character’s journey? Using the approaches we’ve reviewed above on how to describe pain in writing, you can make an impactful character in your story. So go ahead and torment your character’s emotions, but don’t forget to do your homework. Maintain the authenticity and relevance of your work while also reminding yourself that suffering lasts longer than a single scene.
To convey a character’s pain, you can either leave it up to the reader to imagine it, use common descriptors to describe it or show it through the character’s reaction and surroundings.
Ultimately, writing about pain isn’t just a question of how to do it. It’s also a question of whether or not the pain should be told in the first place. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how to write about pain; it all depends on the circumstances.