Monday, March 29, 2010

Getting Emotional With Our Characters

“But it's a lot to ask of me to allow writing to make me feel, to make me become ‘emotionally involved.’” -- Randall Brown at FlashFiction.Net.

In a post last week (The Scary Part of Writing), I asked how many readers you've made cry. After reading Randall's post, I realized I asked the wrong question. I should have asked what have you written recently that made you cry?

It's not easy for many of us--I include myself in this group--to get emotionally involved in the characters we write about. Yes, we know who they are, what they like to eat, where they like to go to relax, and why they live where they do. But do we feel their emotions? Do we feel what they feel, or do we only write about it from a safe distance?

As I mentioned in my earlier post, a point supported by Randall's, it's scary (and hard if we're not emotional in our daily lives) to let ourselves get so deeply involved in our characters; but some stories require this. In order to tell the real story, the writer has to feel the anger, or love, or remorse, or whatever the emotion is being portrayed as fully as the character does.

I have a story (not the one mentioned in the prior post) that isn't working. The problem is the ending. I've written three and received negative comments about all of them. I'm obviously not emotionally involved enough with the main character to know what the ending should be. Maybe I never will be.

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