I had my first DNF (Did Not Finish) today. The reader couldn’t get past THAT Scene. You know the one that shan’t ever be mentioned here or over on Facebook.
I tried to encourage her to keep reading, to reassure her that life gets better for the people she had taken into her heart. But, no.
I understand why she was upset. Truly I do. I was a MESS writing THAT scene. I was a MESS editing THAT scene.
Adding to her distress was a lot of physical pain, for which she was on medication. Sadly, it was all too much.
“Tears fall and I ache,” she wrote to me. And: “Why?” And: “Reading books isn’t supposed to be…torture.”
I’m sorry for her that she invested so many hours reading my book and didn’t get to experience that satisfying feeling that comes at the end of a book that you so enjoy. For prior to this point she was enjoying it. She messaged me: “I woke up looking forward to reading your book. That’s how good it is!”
I appreciate her writing to me all the same and telling me what she thought. I really do. She was very polite and respectful. I would send her a gentle hug if I could but I’m not sure how welcome that would be. I sense she thinks I’m a tad disturbed or need counselling. For the record: Seldom Come By is not autobiographical.
The description of Seldom Come By reads:
“But as the war moves towards its final harrowing days, they both discover that tragedy and terror can strike anywhere, setting their love on an unforeseen path.”
Harrowing. Tragedy. Terror.
Now, I’m wondering whether I should have a WARNING label on my book.
You will fall in love with people. At some point, terrible things will happen to them. BEWARE OF LIFE.
So did you want to throw my book at the proverbial wall?
Have there been other books or films that you’ve read or watched where you’ve gone: “No, I just can’t continue.”
I have walked out of two movies in my life – I should warn you I am a wimp when it comes to horror films. I don’t do scary or horror very well. Just ask my partner, Mark, or my work mate, Alistair.
The first was The Fly with Jeff Goldblum…in the wrestling scene when he snapped his opponent’s wrist and you saw the bone pierce the skin. Gasp! Gulp! Way too graphic for me.
The second was in Cape Fear, which had a great cast and came highly recommended by Melina, a part-time actress, with whom I worked. It was good but it was terrifying. I just wanted the Robert de Niro character to die. Die! And leave everyone in peace. Please! Near the end when he was riding under the car I just had to get up and walk out. I’d had a stressful week and wanted a relaxing, uplifting movie, not one that was going to give me a heart-attack in my late 20s.
There was another movie that I’m sure I would have walked out of, had I seen it at the cinema, and that was The Piano Teacher. Fortunately, we were at home watching it on video. Still, we had to pause it while I rushed to grab an ice-cold washer to drape over my face while I lay down and willed myself not to faint and willed myself not to think about what that woman had been doing with a razor blade. Some time later we decided we would continue. Surely it would get better. Surely this woman would redeem herself in some way? It was not to be.
So what about you? Have you had any books or movies you’ve had to pass on because the experience was unbearable? Care to share?