You are a necessary part of my writing. And I don't mean that I have to experience grief when I'm trying to write—though goodness knows, sometimes I want to tear my hair out or find a wall to bang my head on when writing some scenes.
It's just that I have found a common thread in many of my stories. At some point, chances are I have at least on character who grieves. Maybe they're grieving over something they did, over something they have to do, over something that happened to them. Maybe they're ignoring it because something so terrible occurred and they just can't deal with it. There are all sorts of other emotions that can come into play—anger, bitterness, frustration, loss—but you're still there.
The thing about it is that I, as the writer, have a very "joy comes in the morning" mentality. There are horrible things that happen to my characters. Disgusting things. Heartbreaking things. Some of my characters have it easier. Some of them walk through the darkest pits. The thing about this that allows me to write through their traumatic experiences is that I know there is a light on the other side.
I could write a story that was completely happy, but where would the conflict be? Why would anyone believe that these characters are happy if they never see what it's like when they're sad or in pain? You, Grief, can sometimes be very, very subtle. Maybe someone feels dull pain over something that might not be considered "huge." Other times, you are very raw and powerful and can totally make or break a character.
Life isn't clear-cut. Everyone wants happiness, but we all go through periods of heartache. I hope that in writing the dark things that happen in my characters' lives, it will make their victories and joyous occasions that much more powerful.
A Writer Who Puts Her Characters Through Much Grief
*Question: Do you think your story has to have some element that brings the characters through darkness, despair, grief, pain, or something of the like before they can come out of it?