hulabunny (hulabunny) wrote,

  • Music:

Amp It Up!

In recent critiques I've given, I have found myself talking a lot about upping the emotional intensity of a scene or the voice of a character.  Ironic really, considering that I consistently get feedback that my writing seems detached.  It seems to be a common struggle, especially for those who excel at "beautiful language" or "great description", which are comments that I seem to give a lot to those same folks who I suggest to take the emotional arc up a notch.

Here's the thing, it's darn hard to do!  First of all, there isn't really a formula for it.  There are "rules" for things like how to write smart dialog or when and where to throw in plot twists.  But there isn't any easy way to make your story dig its hooks into the reader's heart, to hold the reader captive until she's read the last page. 

It's about giving the reader a glimpse of the most interior part of a character, making the reader feel a character's rage, frustration, elation, fear, etc. on a deeply personal level.  Not making the emotions bigger but rather making every moment, big or small, resonant and indelible. 

And what makes that hard, in my experience, is that it requires the author into places that are emotionally messy for him and not so fun to poke around in.  I can't give a lesson on how to achieve it.  As I said, I have a lot of trouble with it myself, but I know when I am doing it because the sentiments I've written make me feel completely vulnerable and exposed.  I guess that's what a writer strives for: feeling naked on the page.

Do you have a secret for getting the maximum emotional charge out of your writing?
Tags: characters, critique group, voice, writing

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