I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while..sorry that NONE of us have posted a lot lately. We’re so slack! (thanks NaNoWriMo!).
I didn’t actually “win” NaNo, but I got to 32k and I’m cool with that. Considering that in November I started my first job, started revising for my first set of exams and lost my best friend to China, not to mention that all the school assignments are due in November, than yeah, 32k is a decent effort!
Anyway, let’s talk about emotions.
Today in Health class, we watched a video about Rhodes Farm, a child anorexic clinic in North London. I got so emotional about it that I had to leave the classroom. Seeing what those kids were doing to themselves, the way they thought of themselves, it just distressed me. It reminded me of a friend from primary school whose weight we worried about. When we tried to talk to her about it, she wouldn’t listen and moved schools. Her mum didn’t care either. The thought of her being the way the girls in the clinic were was just…it was just awful. In the classroom, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to faint.
Emotions are a tricky thing to capture in words. Those who can do so are talented, and very hard-working. Good writing doesn’t come easily—we all know that. I don’t think that anyone could completely capture what I was feeling in that lesson. It’s difficult for words to wholly nail a feeling, so when you read a passage in a book and you think “That’s true. That’s exactly how it feels”, it’s freaking awesome.
Whenever I’m writing a particularly emotional scene, I always try to remember a time when I felt whatever emotion I’m trying to capture. From now on, if my MC is thinking she’ll faint, I’ll look back on today’s Health class. When I’m trying to capture the feeling of missing someone, I look back on the first week of living in a new town and being away from everything I knew.
I’ll go back and read scenes from books that really tear my heart out. Scenes that are so jam-packed of grief and anger and extreme happiness that I want to cry.
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate has the most emotional ending I’ve ever read. I’d tell you why, but, darlings, that would be a spoiler. But I pull it out now and then to read it and think to myself, “That’s how it’s done. That is the way you make a girl cry!”
Maggie Stiefvater, author of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, said that she wanted to write a book that would make people cry. I think that as authors, we all want our reader to be so overcome by our words and the emotions we want them to express that they cry. Not in a “This book is so bad and awful and ew that it’s forcing me to tears” but “Oh my gosh! This book is so amazing I can’t stop crying because of the scenes that are evoking strong emotional responses in me!”
Basics: if we want our words to evoke strong, realistic emotions than we have to be able to relate to the emotion.
We can fake a lot of things as writers, I mean, fiction is our deal, but if you want to capture emotion you gotta know what it feels like, at least a tad.
Or, you know, you could Google it. But you’ll be FOREVER SHAMED.
Haha, I’m kidding…maybe.
Anyway, Escapists, go cry over a book!
(Si, I have switched languages!)