On races, running, and pain

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

To anyone who ever competes in a scavenger hunt race–stretch first. Otherwise the next day you’ll be hobbling around with the grace of a 90 year old but without the walker.

I was genius enough to do just that.

But as my legs burn and ache, it got me thinking. In stories, we rarely ever see the physical pain characters go through after (and while) running for their lives. I for one would like to see this written more often.

Writing should evoke the discomfort that characters go through. It’s one thing to say that “His legs hurt from all the running.” It’s a completely different beast to say, “With every step, he felt as though sharp sticks forced their way into his shins. His knees didn’t want to bend, and he walked with one hand against the wall for support. At least he could breathe with relative ease.”

So, the moral of this story is to stretch and keep in shape before attempting to run over a mile (and walking several more). And if you don’t, incorporate your pain into writing.

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