I can do battles; I quite like writing about that (even if I still cover my eyes during some parts of Brave Heart). I've done car crash injuries (Grit, Runaway); I've written about dog fights (The Ring); I've even blown up some people (as yet to be published G-Force).
I don't usually read thrillers or crime fiction (unless written by my friends) although I did read Luther. And I do tend to enjoy watching Danish crime tv (The Killing and The Bridge) but when it comes to what I'm working on right now, I'm struggling...
Like a number women I know, I have been the victim of more than one sexual assault - one no more than a bit of a opportunist grope; the other more serious. In both cases, I knew the perpetrator. As a child, I was also subjected to sexual molestation over a period of many years and I reflected these experiences in my first novel.
It's not an area I like reading or writing about. I find it disturbing to read but even more disturbing to create.
I'm in the throes of shaping the last bit of the final book in the trilogy. I care about these characters and, for one of them, it has come about that a sexual attack has to happen. I'm struggling with the writing of it. Not because I can't write but because I want to write it well: to make sure I get it authentic. I want to frighten you. I want your heart to race (as mine does when I read over what I've written so far). I want you to feel sick (just a bit) but not so much that you put the book down. I want you to hang in there until my character is able to overcome and you are punching the air going 'Booyah!'
Personally, I don't know how other writers of darker works cope. Maybe I should just get it over and done with and trust in my skill as a story teller.