Sunday, June 20, 2010

Emotional Writing

Some time ago, I was on a professionally published writer's website. I'll skip her name, but tell you that she's got multiple novels on the bookstore shelves. On her website, I read an update where she was describing how she gets emotionally invested in what she writes. A specific example she described was in the book she was writing, she had just written a scene in which her main character did something "unforgivable." According to the author, writing that scene where her character committed this act was so emotional for her that after she finished, she went into the other room and sobbed. She was... dramatic about it.

My reaction was, "Huh? Are you serious?" Getting that emotional about a made up person committing a made up act that you made them do? Sounded a little unbalanced to me.

Do I think good writing requires emotion? Sure. Do I think good writing makes the reader feel like they're involved in what's going on in the book? Absolutely. Do I think that, in order for the reader to feel the emotion, the writer should feel the emotion first? Sure. But, do I think you should have a nervous breakdown because of a fictional event? Um... there's a difference between reality and pretend.

I was thinking about this last night. Last night I got to a scene where I killed off a main character. It wasn't the easiest scene to write because I was trying to make it as hard as I could on the other characters. I was trying to make it hard on the reader. I mean, that's kind of the point behind killing a main character. But, I have to confess, I did not, in fact, have to go in the other room and sob about it.

1 comment:

The One and Only John said...

I think it depends on your emotional sensitivity. If you're someone who works through things by crying them out, then it's normal. If you don't cry over much, then it wouldn't be a surprise if you didn't cry over a fictional event. Or, you just didn't make the fictional event poignant enough.