Writing Wednesday: Getting the emotions down

I have discovered a thing about how I write. Now, if I can just remember it I think I can make use of it.

I can’t write the story AND the emotions at the same time.

I keep getting stuck and I couldn’t figure out why. I’d be rolling along until there was an emotion, and then I’d stare at it for days trying to figure out how to express it. I don’t lack the ability to describe emotion or detail an emotional response.

APPARENTLY the brain cell that helps me put the stories together isn’t talking to the one that helps me with the emotions.

I tested this idea. I promptly wrote two entire chapters in one afternoon.

This is exactly what I always tell other writers to do, but I didn’t see that I wasn’t doing it. “Do not write the first draft as if you don’t have to edit it anyway. Just get the story out of your head.”

I don’t know when I started getting stuck like this, either. It’s going to take a little effort to break the habit. I have to remember it’s the first draft for a reason. I do all sorts of literary evils in my drafts. I change tenses, have run-ons, tell instead of show, use the same words until I’ve worn them threadbare, and generally make it look like a preteen took a whack at a keyboard.

But, somewhere I went from simple descriptions like “She felt sad,” to having to find all the words to explain the true depth of the agony and the way it fogged her brain and caused her feet to drag as she walked.

I admit to being frustrated with myself, mostly for losing the skill I’ve known was how I could crank out an entire novel in 6 months. It all starts with getting the story out of my head and onto “paper.” If I’m trying to write the final draft at the start, I’ll end up working on these books for years at a time – and no, I’m not okay with that. Spending years on a story doesn’t make it a better story if you already have the necessary skills when you start.

So, off I go to write about the sad, happy, laughing, crying, shocked states I’m pretending are the depth of Lauren and Caleb’s emotions.

I’ll torture them with the emotion reveal in the next draft.

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