Friday, May 29, 2009

I love you, I swear! Damn it, listen to me! (Writing emotions...)

"Marsha, I love you."

"No, John, you don't!"

"But I do! Really!"

"Oh. Well. Then I guess I love you, too."

"So let's get married."

"Yes, Let's do."

"Kiss, kiss."

The End.


More specifically, writing emotions. Ought to be a piece of cake. After all, who hasn't felt mad, happy, afraid, or in love?

"If you're a romance writer who relies on emotional words carry your character's journey, then chances are you've failed at youre genre." (paraphrased from author/editor Alicia Rasley)

Yeah, I know. She's right. Blows, doesn't it?

Writing realistic depictions of emotion that spring to life on the page is one of most difficult lessons to learn as an author. Yet, there is no more important lesson to learn, particularly for those who want to write moving love stories.

I was fortunate enough to attend a day conference a while back presented by editor/author Alicia Rasley. She's a brilliant teacher, and certainly lives up to her reputation for holding her audience in the palm of her hand.

Much of our discussion was about emotion in writing. I walked way with two "aha" moments, particulary when it comes to building up to those dramatic, emotional moments that define love stories.

1) Trust your reader's intelligence. Never. Ever. Spoon feed.

2) Remove the emotional words from your scene and try again. Once done, you are forced to rely on your character's actions to carry the emotion.

Ah, now we're back to the wisdom we should have learned from our writing 101, but may have forgotten---action is everything, baby. And once again, I'm leaning on a classic movie clip to distract you guys from the fact that this post is woefully short on content because...I'm on deadline. :)


Katie Reus said...

Snort! I laughed at that dialogue! I was lucky enough to hear Alicia talk too (about a year ago) and you're right, the woman is amazing! I can't remember who it was, but a while ago I read a blog post from an erotic romance author and she had a question for her readers. What's important during sex scenes? Practically everyone answered 'emotions'! It's so true too b/c without it, there's nothing left but flat descriptions. As always, love the post :)

Good luck with your deadline, I'm sure you'll make it!

Dara Edmondson said...

Good post. I love Alicia (who happens to be my editor) and i also got a lot out of her workshop. Love the scene from Fiddler!

Christine S. Morehouse said...

ROTFL. I so needed this post. Thanks! I have a deadline for June 1st for LRWG. I've been procrastinating because I just can't get the emotion to feel right.
I couldn't help smiling at the dialogue. Thinking, dang Christine that sounds just like you. So, I'm off to strip my story to the bare bones. With a little bit of hope and a whole lot of creativity it should work.

Thanks a million! Good luck on your deadline!

Maree Anderson said...

I love this! And the idea of wiping all the dialogue in a scene and checking whether your character's actions and interactions will convey the emotional punch you intended...well, that's just inspired. THANK YOU!


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