What should I do when an important scene is triggering?

I’m currently writing a story that involves mental health. I already have in mind the ending of the story but as it includes gun violence, I feel like I should give readers an option to skip the scene.

But at the same time, I feel like the essence of the ending would be taken away if the reader does choose to skip the scene. I’m distraught and I don’t know what to do… :< I already know I should add a warning though…

I still think you should give the option to skip the scene. Or if you feel like the story needs the scene definitely put a trigger warning before the scene.

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Thank you!

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Give a warning prior and give the readers a choice if they’d like to see. Believe it or not, there are many people who would get triggered from seeing certain scenes. From a writer’s perspective, I completely understand but you have to also look at it from a readers perspective.

As a reader, I have seen scenes where I wish I hadn’t. But, as a writer, I would like my readers to see the whole story.

So, look at it from both sides but also be understanding towards the fact that there are readers who may have experienced things they’d like to forget.

Hope this helps some!

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Thank you!

One question: if I give them the option and they choose to not see it, should I describe the scene to them as it is an important scene?

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You should/can say it is an important scene, and maybe give a brief description of what happened so they know going forward in the story, but never make them feel guilty for skipping the scene.

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Being triggered can feel terrible, and I think that mental health should prioritise understanding the essence of the story, since at the end of the day, it’s a story. I think you should definitely put a warning, as you’ve said, and maybe add an option to skip the scene. If it’s super important and the ending won’t make any sense without it, if the reader chooses not to see it, try to describe it briefly, keeping it as need-to-know as possible.

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Thank you! I’ll definitely keep this in mind. :slight_smile:

Yeah, you can describe the scene if they choose to skip, just make sure it isn’t a triggering description or one that makes them feel bad for choosing not to see it.

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Your readers’ mental health is way more important than completely understanding what’s going on throughout the story so I personally think you should add a trigger warning and then give the readers the option to skip it or not. Because in that case, those who are worried about their mental health will skip it or if they feel like they can handle it they could choose to not skip it. And if it’s a really important scene, you could give a brief description of what happened during the scene but please don’t go into too much detail since that could trigger people too because something doesn’t have to be graphic to trigger someone, which is why you have to be extremely careful while describing a triggering scene.

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