Stephen King wrote that, “Monsters are real. Ghosts are real. they live inside us, and sometimes they win.”
I ran right into the ghost piece of that quote recently, and the encounter proved to be terrifying.
Since I started doing the rewrite on the manuscript, I’ve employed a few beta readers. One of them ran into something that triggered a reaction I hadn’t expected. In the last third of the novel, Will and RJ are investigating a sexual assault case, and there’s a scene where Will is walking through the crime scene, looking at the area it happened in, and is reconstructing what happened based on footprints and the like. It’s easy to do if you’re an experienced investigator.
So, I’ve got this conversation between Will and RJ going on, Will is laying it out, describing what might have happened.
My reader started reading it, and found she couldn’t go any further. She’d been the victim of a sexual assault, and reading it brought back too many memories. She said it was too easy to put herself into the situation. She ended up crying for hours.
She admitted that I caught all the mental anguish the victim went through perfectly. She’s finishing the novel, but had to jump over that part. It was just too real for her.
I really didn’t intend to cause anyone some mental anguish, but I guess when you’re dealing with a fictional situation that has it’s roots based firmly in a real case, you need to expect it.
Maybe I need to be a “Warning” in the back.