Where to Draw the Line

Here I stand with my empty box of Japanese chocolates. Royce’ (that’s not a mistake, that’s actually how the name is spelled) is a deliciously smooth, fudge-esque treat. The product is gourmet; its price is high and so is its calorie count. Each dainty piece is sprinkled with raw cocoa powder providing the perfect blend of bitter and sweet.

I wanted to make the chocolate last a long time–perhaps even several weeks. No such luck. I inhaled both boxes in six days.

Chocolate is my mood stabilizer and today has been the kind where one small treat wouldn’t fix me, or give me a fix.

The laundry list of my complaints today is long, but I will spare everyone the self-pity. Here’s my question: How far is too far?

My eating habits are good evidence that I just don’t know when to stop in, at least, one area of my life. And apparently those bad habits carry over into my writing.

For instance, the new book I’m working on is a paranormal romance. A normal girl is being stalked; a boy with incredible abilities is trying to protect her. He is unsuccessful a good portion of the time. Stalkers can be very scary. I know from a couple of personal experiences. I want the reader to understand that fear, without being in any danger (except maybe from their own imaginations). Isn’t that what a good book does? Isn’t it supposed to evoke an emotional response?

Stalkers are to some degree sexual deviants. Their physical attraction to another person is the nature of their obsession. How can I write on this topic without crossing the line? I know what the stalker is thinking is wrong. But how do I mellow his thoughts or actions and still tell the story?

How do I portray the protagonist’s fear without writing things that are scary?

People I love and respect want me to take the frightening parts out. Can I show and not tell, like children’s book authors do? Can you read about the girl’s reaction and assume what has happened? How does the reader know that the main character isn’t’ over exaggerating or has a dramatic personality?

Anyone out there want to give me a little help or a suggestion?


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