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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Workshop Wednesday - Give It Time

This is going to be a short post because my neck is screaming at me, and I can't stay long at the computer. But this week we're continuing the talk about expressing emotion in writing. Today's topic: realistic emotional growth.

If we're honest with ourselves, we don't always interpret our emotions correctly at first. While we can see straight to the heart of someone else's problems, we often struggle to define our own. We have our epiphany moments, yes, but those take time to reach. And often, we cannot neatly package our realizations, only express them in ways that make sense to us.

When it comes to our fictional characters, they should reflect this same human struggle. Conflict drives plot, and creates story. If a character is so self-aware that each emotional hiccup is dealt with immediately and with total control, you have no conflict, and therefore no story. To give your novel that "real" feeling, it's important to leave realization hanging out to dry for a while. Leave scenes at tense moments. Have characters walk away without any sort of interpretation. Like a well-written TV show, give the audience the frustrated conversation, and leave the soul-searching for another scene. If every scene wraps up tidily, that doesn't smack of reality...or compelling drama. Let wounds fester, let moods foul, and your work will more accurately reflect life.

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