Sunday, October 27, 2013
The Alchemy of Emotion
I have noticed something mysterious as both writer and reader: the way emotion is transmitted through words. It isn't just the words used or their arrangements. Often they are quite ordinary words.
I've read beautiful works that left me cold. And in contrast, I've read clunky fiction that engaged me and evoked feeling. I'm convinced that the writer has to feel the emotions before they will be conveyed. Certain things that I've written--alone or in partnership with my husband--provoke tears or laughter upon multiple readings. That is odd because you would think familiarity would dull any reaction. This happened recently with the poignant voice-over to our coming of age story, Up the Tracks. I choked up like a dork when reading it to my husband.
Only my readers can tell me if I succeed. But what I consciously do when writing a high-intensity scene--be it love, reconciliation, sadness, fear, or anger--is put myself in my character's head as much as possible. Sometimes I even act out the physical movements, pretending I am acting a role in a film. Sort of. In my writing room. Good thing I don't write erotica. The neighbors and the cat might object, though my husband might not.
I'm curious if others have the same experience--as readers or writers.