Writing The Scene You Hate

I’m coming to the part in my novel where I’m writing a conflict scene between two of my main characters and it’s a tough scene to write because I love those characters.

The one thing I had to learn was how to separate my emotions from my story so I can write the scene and not downplay it to spare my emotions. But I have to write it and the characters have to go through it because it’s part of the story.

We all have to do it.

Every writer who is emotionally involved in their story is going to write a scene they hate where the main character(s) experience a painful moment because it’s conflict for the story. You may have read about “killing your characters” to make you detach from them but the point is still the same. Separate your emotions so you won’t hold back.

Here are some other ways to detach from you characters and the story:

1. Keep the ending of the book in mind

If you know your book is going to have a happy ending then think about the ending to make you feel better about writing that tough scene. If you know everything is going to be okay why not take your readers on a journey they’ll never forget.

No one wants a perfect story. It’s nice but it’s sooooo boring.

2. Temporarily give the character’s new names

It’s a stretch but it might work. If you write a tough scene with different names you may trick your mind momentarily or at least long enough for you to write your scene without feeling like you’re going to burst into tears or change your mind about writing the tough scene at all.

Warning: Remember to change those names back to their original ones.

3. Take a break

When you feel like the scene is really taking a toll on you and you find yourself easing up on the action and hardcore emotion that will make your book great, just walk away from it. Take a break and come back to it later with a more focused and determined attitude.

Don’t forget to come back. Some people stop writing when scenes gets tough. I admit I’ve stop writing stories because of tough scenes because I thought I “couldn’t do it.” Now, of course, I know I can do anything but back then I settled for simple things in life and writing unfun scenes weren’t that cool…well, they still aren’t but it’s part of the job. 🙂

What Not To Do When Writing A Tough Scene


1. Go Easy On The Scene

When you go easy on the scene it’s easier to write but the quality of story will go down. Write the scene you hate and make it important to the story. Make your readers feel something. The more readers are emotionally involved in the story the better. It could lead to better reviews and reader recommendation. Remember even the Lion King had that sad part.

2. Rush Through It

One of the worst things you can do is rush though the scene or any scene in your story for that matter. It’s like cheating the reader out of a great part. Yes, it might be a hard scene but they still paid money or spent time to read it so why give them a watered down version? It wouldn’t be fair and remember your name is on it.

I believe people will remember the writer that made them emotional more than they remember the writer that just wrote all happy-go-lucky. This is because hard emotion is real, deep and very relatable. And being relatable to your audience is a key thing for building fans and selling books.

3. Skip It

Don’t dismiss the scene all together and simply refer to it in the story later on. If the scene’s really a big deal to the story, write it. Give the readers what they want even though it might be hard for you to write it.

No one said it would be hard for the readers to read it. They may read through it normally, cry through it, get anger at it, or whatever emotion you’re trying to trigger but give them a chance to experience it. Readers may love the emotional rollercoaster. You never know. Chances are if they are reading your story, they’re interested in your characters and what they do so give them the scene and move on with the story.


Write the scene you hate even if you don’t want to. I’m going to be doing the same thing in my novel and I’ll be using the tips listed above as well.

Let me know how you handle tough scenes. Share what you know in the comment section.

Don’t let anything hinder your writing because that’s who you are..a writer. And sometimes the job’s not easy.

I wish you all the best on your writing journey,


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About the Author

Shaquanda Dalton

Hello, my name is Shaquanda Dalton and welcome to Learnasyouwrite.com! I'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graudated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Creative Writing. I fell in love with writing at the age nine and love it till this day. :)


  1. Nadia

    I love the idea of giving my character’s new names, it really helps me to distance my emotional side (i love my characters too much) when it comes to editing and get down to business and fix what’s not working for the plot. I feel like I spend so much time rewriting and rewriting what I think are good scenes all to find out that they don’t quite fit with the plot/ or could be even better. I’m a perfectionist in recovery (been a good year now! :-)) and writing has been both therapeutic and a challenge for me to dealing with those perfectionist tendencies. I look at rewriting now as clarifying the point, and getting the plot and characters cleared up so the reader can experience what I want them to, hopefully an engaging story!

    • Shaquanda Dalton

      That’s exactly right about making it more for your readers than for yourself. Remember they are the one’s buying your book and investing their time so make it your vision but in the best way possible for them. 🙂

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