on Writers Helping Writers:
Trauma: any event that overwhelms our ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, and diminishes our ability to feel a full range of emotions. Anything can be traumatic depending on the individual and what they can cope with.
Giving a character a trauma background, having them experience some kind of trauma, or having to live with and manage PTSD is something more and more writers are choosing for their stories.
Trauma is full of conflict and emotional tension, but readers don’t want objective news coverage. They want the lived experience of the event whether it’s happening right now or fifty years ago.