Monday, February 11, 2013

Today I Cried

Today, I wrote a scene that was difficult because the action was emotionally painful to write. I wrote, finished the scene, then cried.

The scene was so discomforting that I wrote the scene in short stints. In between the writing, I took time out to breathe, to pace, to stretch out the tightening muscles in my neck. During the writing, I focused on the action and the character's heartfelt reactions to the action. For the character, the scene was both heart- and gut-wrenching. When I finished the scene, I was heartbroken and hurting because of the character's plight and the character's reactions to adversity.

My primary job as a writer is to evoke emotion in my readers. If my writing does not elicit emotion within me, how can I expect my readers to emotionally connect or engage with my characters or my story?

My character is in dire straights. He's in deep trouble. He's hurting, sad, scared, lonely and alone. He is a child who has been yanked away from his normal world, is in far over his head, and is suffering.

These are my characters, therefore, I care. Why should anyone else care about my character's plight?

As a writer, my job is to give the reader something and/or someone to care about, by combining:
  • Purposeful action, which moves the story forward
  • Stimulus and response scenarios that makes sense
  • Showing, instead of telling
  • Relatable, realistic plight, conflicts, and challenges
  • Character true to traits and self
  • Growth arc true to the character
  • Story arc proceeds in line with character arc

This scene made me cry, from compassion toward and caring about the character. I connected with the character. Isn't connection what most of search for our entire lives? You Can Write a Novel by James V. Smith, Jr. discusses Participation. I, as a reader, want first and foremost to connect with and to participate emotionally and mentally in the story and the characters journey.

Today, I wrote and I cried.

1 comment:

Janie Fox said...

Wow, I can't wait to read it!