Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Writing from my head not my heart.

Once I transitioned into plot, I realized that I also transitioned into my head. These next 10 chapters are the meat of the book, where everything spirals out of control. It needs to be dramatic and emotional.

That isn't easy for me. How do I access those feelings? If I don't feel strongly about what's happening, how can I expect others to?

I've given myself plenty of time to write this book, so I'm willing to try to access that feeling, to not write further until something strikes me hard.

The danger in that is that the longer I take to write something, the harder that will be. So a bit of a Catch-22. I'll give it a week or so. Go for my walks and see if my subconscious insists on something. As I've said, there is outer directed and inner directed and often by this point in a book, (roughly halfway through) the outer directed becomes more prominent. It's unavoidable, I think, because the demands of the plot I have to craft the elements.

I figure I can go over the top on feeling and drama and can always scale back later. But the opposite isn't true. So instead of intellectually accessing story ideas, I need to tap into the emotions.

Today I'm going to work on the concept of being a "method" writer. That is, try to tap into something in my own life that is a parallel to the events in the book, try to act out those feelings on the page.

It may not work at all. It may be that I'll just have to go with my head, and hopefully my heart will follow. But I'm going to give it some time, see what develops. In every book there are a few scenes where I fully feel the emotion of the moment. I'd like to up the odds of that happening. 

Like I said, the longer I don't write, the harder it becomes, so it's a tradeoff.

I really think what I've written so far is the best I've done, by quite a bit. But I need to fulfill the expectation I've set up. It's ready from something a little deeper and more emotional than I've attempted in the past.

So here goes.


Duncan McGeary said...

On my walk, I realized that I need to approach each scene from an emotional aspect first. I think I've always approached each scene from plot or story driven aspect, with the emotion arising from that.

Instead, I need to concentrate on emotion, and let the story arise from that. I've got a pretty good knack for story, so that will come.

I also did try to tap into my own emotions on this latest chapter, and I think it turned out really well.

So now I'm back on track. Make sure I have the best character for the POV and then try to delve into his or her emotional state.

I think one of the reasons that the first 20K words were so effective is that each entry was consciously approached from the idea of evoking character above all. Which, in a way, is that I'm talking about. The emotional state arises from this expression of character.

It's when I settle for normal narrative techniques that things get bland and predictable. So, yeah. I used Jon McCarthy as my plot vehicle for a few chapters, and that needed to be done, but I'm going to try harder to use the other characters as often as possible.

Dave Cline said...

Get drunk, and then write.

Seriously. The rational mind can't emit emotion. But the drunk one can.

Duncan McGeary said...

I was thinking that. Just for these few chapters. I am much more open when I drink. So yeah, I'm really thinking about it.

It used to be very useful decades ago. It got me in the writing chair and kept me there and loosened up my writing and sometimes spurred some real creativity.

When I came back to writing many years later--not so much. By the time I'm drunk, I just want to go to bed. Heh.

I feel like I pay a high cost these days when I drink. I'm not fit for man nor beast for three or four days after I get drunk. So the cost has become too high.

But yeah, I'm thinking about it. At least, as an experiment.

Dave Cline said...

... Made me laugh.

"I had a little drink about an hour ago and now I'm headed straight to my bed."

Pretty much sums it up for me too.

So you have to time it well. Fast from lunch, wait until 5PM, then a couple of shots of your favorite (a nice tequila works for me). And then let the words fly. I've come up with some downright insightful thoughts during such episodes. But, I've only done it a few times.