Hi friends :)
Like many of you, I fall in love when I read books. I've never thought too hard about why, but I do know that the books that make me cry, laugh out loud, or otherwise cause an intense emotional response, are my favorites. I'm not usually a crier, but I can specifically tell you the books that have made me cry, and I loved them.
As for writing, I'll be honest in that I've never been able to really "let go" in my writing. There have been a few times when I've gotten chills, or cried while writing, but reading it back? That's even more rare. I can only think of ONE thing I've written that caused a physical reaction (chills) in me when I read it over again. But here's the thing: I WANT to be that writer.
I want to be that writer whose work makes you think, makes you fall in love, makes you want to read it again and again and again. I'm not a very smart person, to be honest, and I rely a lot on other people to tell me whether my writing is any good. To that end, I went to Twitter to ask:
How do you DIG DEEP to get your manuscript to the point where it's emotionally powerful?
Here are some of the answers I got, that helped me to see things a little differently...
@mariekeyn (Marieke Nijkamp) : By writing what terrifies me -- and by writing everything that hits too close to home.
@KateBrauning : For me, it's all about stakes.Emotion comes from things being vitally important to the character, then being lost / almost lost. The more viscerally I can see why and how the main character needs/wants something, the more impacting it is when it's risked. Emotion!
@ScouterWife (Lisa Dunn) : Figure out what matters and why. Then bring your character to the brink of losing all that matters. Maybe even push her over.
@Jamie_Grey : Can you try to imagine yourself in that situation and really put yourself in their shoes? Like an actor would? Totally immerse?
@ginad129 (Gina Denny) : I would identify the emotion. Think of a time you felt that way and recreate it. Or watch a movie that indices it.
@RachelOLaughlin : I don't know if mine *are* emotionally powerful, but what makes them emotional to me is placing myself in the scene. // Usually before I even write a scene I've acted it out in my head and sometimes physically. Physically helps ne understand // how strong the emotions are/ could be. Then I write in the rawest, most expressive form (usually cut the violence later, ha). // Sometimes if I'm really struggling, I go back and read the most emotional parts of my favorite books. What made them powerful?
@AngiNicole722 (Angi Black) : I write until it scares me, and then go one level deeper. At least that's what I'm going for. // Make them people. People who deal with all the normal stuff. Then when the reader falls in love with them, make them deal // with extraordinary circumstances. They have to connect with the character, not the trials. // Show the reader the character's soul. Then, no matter what they face, the reader is in it.
So I'm going to take this advice and dig deep. I'm going to edit TARGET this way, looking for scenes and moments that I can make more poignant. And I'm going to try and let go of my fears and inhibitions, so that you, as readers, can see the characters more fully.
Let's hope this works.