Emotions and Writing

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For this post I’m going to assume you all agree that one of the main purposes of fiction writing is to make the reader feel, if you don’t think this please tell me why, I’m keen to hear your answer. As a writer I certainly want you to connect with my characters and feel everything they feel. To make this happen I need to deal with emotions and that can be a tricky thing, especially if I haven’t personally felt those emotions or at the other end of the scale if I have felt those emotions intensely.

As a writer I look at everything around me as a potential source of creativity and I’m constantly observing. It’s a weird observing though, I miss some of the most obvious things yet zero in on the tiniest details. This goes for emotions as well as the physical aspects.

One of the ways I try to express an emotion I haven’t felt before is to examine it and how I think it feels. For me personally this is usually in some form of poetry. Disclaimer: I’m not a poet, I write what feels right to me so feel free to say it isn’t actually poetry but I don’t know what else to call it.

Below is something I wrote last week and it was in response to how I thought someone else might be feeling.

Goddess of the Dark

Goddess of the dark

Hear my plight

I wish to leave my mark

But I’m afraid of the night

The darkness and shadows

The maybes and unknowns

All ring alarm bells

And I feel all alone

My sistas call to me

Voices crystal clear and true

But my ears are deaf to them

My mind coloured blue

I want to explore

Be the adventurer of my dreams

But something is holding me here

I struggle to be free

My cords are tangled

Snarled and a mess

Goddess help me

I don’t feel blessed 

Now I don’t feel like this, although I have felt something similar in the past but not this intense. I showed it to two people close to me and both asked me if I was OK straight away, concerned for my well being. After reassuring them I was feeling great I counted this as a success and feel confident that I can convey this emotion in my novel.

The next piece of writing is how I was feeling at the time and oddly enough I’m way too close to it to actually judge its success. It is a true representation of emotion for me, but I am unsure if others can tell what I was trying to convey.

For Breath

Gasping I wake

The weight on my chest imaginary

But too real to fake

I struggle to sit

Go about my day

But my lungs hold a protest                                                                                                                                        

So back to bed I go

Heat pack for comfort

Heart low          

I fight to hide it

But one look and she knows

Worry a pit at her feet

I’m miserable

My body not responding how I want

But it’s my life

At least I have one

I gasp for breath

It’s easier and I smile

This time my body is strong

This time I don’t need to fight

For breath.

So that’s how I examine emotions that I want to show in my stories. I focus on them and how I think they make people feel. Everyone is different so it can be a tricky thing to get across but it is my job as  a writer to make the reader understand what my character is feeling. To do that I need to understand who and what my character is but also how a reader identifies with certain emotions. Smiles for joy, tears for sadness etc. are obvious ones. These pieces of writing allow me to dig a little deeper and hopefully make the emotional connection between the character and the reader a strong one.

How do you deal with emotions in your writing? Please let me know in the comments, I’m interested to hear of other ways of writing about them.

Happy creating everyone!

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The Significance of Books

Recently I had a discussion with someone on the significance of books. It proved to be a rather interesting conversation and I wanted to share some of it with you. So below, find the more interesting points we talked about.

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Book are so much more than letters on a page.

The first and obvious one we brought up was the Christian bible. Let me make this abundantly clear that I am not trashing or promoting religion or politics with this post, I am pointing out how books influence us and the bible is a book. Also for the sake of keeping this post short I’m going to assume you know at least the basics of Christianity.

Regardless of what you believe about the bible it has had a major impact on society and history. This includes the Crusades in medieval times (campaigns to find the Holy Grail) to current times where all manner of things are accepted or denied because of it (think abortion, divorce and same sex marriage to name a few). It is also responsible for at least two major holidays in Western culture, Easter and Christmas. Millions of people the world over celebrate these days and the information that is in this book influences their day to day life. People literally live according to what is written in the bible. Now if that isn’t a book having a strong influence I don’t know what is.

To me the above is an obvious example because a lot of people consider it truth (Once again, this post is not debating that. Some people think this, some don’t. End of discussion). The next example is most definitely fiction but I would still argue it has influence. Let me explain. This next example is a series of books that has spawned a multi billion dollar industry employing thousands of people. That’s pretty significant, but it has also done more than that. It has introduced a new generation to the wonder of the written word and sparked their imaginations.

It has inspired people to create art, music and write their own stories. There is clothing dedicated to the characters and the books, as well as other accessories. People who have never read the books or seen the movies made from them know about the boy who lived and he who shall not be named. I am of course talking about Harry Potter. Why and how is this significant?

For starters there is the obvious economic impact. This story about a boy who became a wizard has employed thousands of people, giving them money which they then spend elsewhere. These jobs weren’t there beforehand, they exist solely because of this story being published and being hugely successful.  If nothing else this is something to take notice of. Then there is the way it is impacting education.

The first book was published in 1997 and the children who first read that are now having children of their own and also teaching children. This is where I think it becomes more significant. It has become a tool in the classroom to teach children English and the all important skill of reading. Children like things to be fun and Harry and his friends have all manner of fun and also get to be the heroes that save everyone. Reading is a fundamental skill in life and personally I think that anything that gets children interested in reading should be harnessed and used.

What do you think about the significance of books? Let me know in the comments and happy creating.

For Lovers of Stories on Valentines

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Tuesday the 14th of February is a day for lovers and whether you believe in it or not nearly everywhere you look you will see signs of love on this day. This will either suffocate you, make you sad or you’ll be one of the blissful ones in their own love bubble. My solution to anything is to read so I’ve compiled a short list of books that have a romance angle to them and may help you on this day regardless of how it makes you feel.

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. An English classic, this story was first published in 1813 and has stood the test of time. The story is mainly focused on Elizabeth Bennet and her growing relationship with Mr Darcy. It also passes comment on Regency Britain and the themes of wealth, marriage and class are at the forefront of the book. With its many different film adaptions who hasn’t heard of Mr Darcy? If you haven’t read it, give it a go, the book is nearly always better than the movie.
  2. A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole. A young adult book, this one managed to bring me to tears. I don’t want to give too much away but if you are after a book where the two lovers never give up on each other, this is it. Warning: it is SAD. Don’t read it if you already feel that way.
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The TV show based on Gabaldon’s books are massive at the moment, but seriously the books are better. There is only so much detail you can fit on film and the books give you a much better insight to the story. The first one in the series, Outlander, is a tale of fate and how there is no escaping it. With it’s historical angle this is a good novel for those of you who like romance but don’t want it to be the whole story.
  4. Into the Blue by Pene Henson. A friends to lovers m/m romance this story is perfect if you are after a laid back read. Set mainly in Hawaii with a surfing backdrop, don’t let the sweet vibe fool you.I stayed up way past my bedtime to find out what happened to the kids at the Blue House. Perfect if you want the feels without over thinking it.
  5. Broken by Nicola Haken. This one has a mental health angle which really made me stop and think. Told from the perspective of a man battling with his mental demons and the person who loves him this m/m romance goes so much further than love. It is disturbing at times, especially if you are or know someone who is going through some mental health problems, but it brings to light a subject to often swept under the rug.

That’s my top 5 picks for Valentine’s Day. None of them are the traditional boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. Real life isn’t like that and although I like my stories to be fiction, I want an element of realness in the characters I’m going to spend time with. Hope there is something here to suit your fancy. Happy creating!

Moments of Magic

Imagine you’ve read the blurb of a book, getting excited about the story and then you read the first few chapters and it’s nothing but a bitter disappointment. It sucks. Apart from spending money on something that you no longer want, you have also invested your time which in this day and age is a precious commodity.

There could be many reasons for this happening. Sometimes it’s because you’ve taken a chance on a new author and find that their style of writing just does not much the style you like to read. Other times it is poorly edited and the story gets lost amid all the misplaced names and punctuation. And sometimes the story is simply not very good.

But then there are those times you’ve read the blurb and are only half interested in the story. You buy it anyway on the off chance it might prove interesting. It languishes in your To Be Read pile for ages and then one lazy sunny afternoon you pick it up and before you know it the sky is darkening and everyone is asking what’s for dinner while you mumble ‘Just one more chapter’.  You reluctantly put it down and hastily throw some food together, shutting everyone up and then dive straight back into that book you took a chance on.

Finally you flick that last page and stare blearily as the sun starts to peek through the window. You’re tired, feel remarkably similar to when you drink too much cider but freaking hell that story was fantastic and you don’t regret a minute of it.  For the rest of the day you’re still  partially lost in that fantasy world while the real one continues to batter away at you.

Those moments are magic, the shooting stars of the night sky.

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It’s what every writer strives for and every reader hopes for when they read that first line. It’s like a pact between the two and when one fails to uphold the bargain there is bitter disappointment from the other party.

Remember that when you create something. Look at it like a reader (or listener/viewer if it’s some other medium) and check your ego at the door, your art will thank you for it as well as your intended audience.

Happy creating!