Photo snagged by Denny S. Bryce from an Internet blog.
Emotions are circumstances that task the heart as well as the mind. They help us tell a tale of extremes: extreme love, extreme hate, extreme pain, anguish and joy, guilt and sorrow, and fun and laughter. Those are the ingredients of good drama.
For some writers--like me--those emotions aren't easy for my characters. But good news! I am finally coming to grips with why my characters must show emotions in circumstances (scenes) that matter. I had this latest revelation during revisions of my 86,000 word manuscript.
Putting my characters in the front a speeding train has never been easy. It takes constant thought and concentration and I admire those who are make it so readily a integral part of their story telling.
In my non-writing life, I spend my time putting chaos in order, crafting the crazy into a seamless organized performance. So messing up a life (or ten:) is tough, nose to the grindstone, work. We've all heard that putting your characters in bad situations is hard. For me, I'm breaking a routine, a habit I've spent twenty-five years perfecting.
Now, I must let go of rationale thought and seek out angst and grief, love and pain, laughter and tears. I now know that it's not just about creating a believable bad guy (which I've always found an easier task) it's about creating conflict and emotions throughout a story, from scene to scene, paragraph to paragraph, and each word has to matter. I want the reader to stare at the pages I wrote and say: wow, that's intense.
So you see, that's what I learned during my latest revision -- I can let go of reason.
And my characters are going to go through hell from here on out because of it.
How sweet is that?