I like a story that moves along and takes me with it. That means I write a lot of action scenes. But at the same time, the reader has to connect with the main characters. Which means I have to reveal emotions. But then, I can't tell the reader what's going on, I have to "show" them with my word choice.
There are times when I battle with myself over a word or sentence, wondering if I'm conveying what I want and at the same time showing the reader the action and emotion.
My critique partner recently returned a manuscript and said she loved the action--the twists and turns, but felt disconnected with the main characters because I didn't show their emotions enough. Yipes! That means going back through the story and upping the internal thoughts and emotions as well and adding actions to the main characters.
This is why I love having a good CP. She catches the things I missed but thought I'd put in the story. And, as hard as it is to admit being a romance author, I struggle with getting enough emotion in my books. I'm not a person who says "I Love You," every time someone I love leaves. I think I've said it to my husband maybe a dozen times in our 38 year marriage. I feel my actions show how I feel about someone without my saying it and making the phrase a motion rather than a true sentiment.
Having a CP who catches when I need to add more emotion is my greatest asset as a writer.
Since this post talks about emotions, it makes me happy to give people gifts. I'll put the names of everyone who comments on this post in my pretty name collecting box and I'll draw a winner on Wednesday, September 14th. The winner will receive one of my print books autographed and a couple of fun promo items I have.
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. She has a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure and received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance. Her first mystery was a finalist in the Chanticleer Mayhem and Mystery Award and is a finalist in the RONE Award Mystery category. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
I like a story that moves along and takes me with it too.ReplyDelete
Sue, I'm glad to hear that.;) Thanks for commenting!Delete
Like you I like a story that moves and has emotions attached! I am an voracious reader and spend as much time as I can curled up with a good book!!ReplyDelete
Enjoyed your blog! I would never have guessed the struggle between action and showing emotion!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Karen! It is for me. But I'm getting better at it. Thanks for commenting!Delete
I think it depends on the genre for the emotions I want in a book I am reading. In mysteries, emotions are less important than in a romance. I've read a lot of mysteries where I have little idea inside the detective's head beyond what he says. A mystery combined with romance has to be the toughest.ReplyDelete
Hi Rain, That's what I'm working on a mystery with a hint of romance. Which is why I'm on the fence as to how much emotion to add.Delete
This is exactly what I've been struggling with lately. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Makes me feel like I belong to a group that goes through the same frustrating process of finding the right words. Heidi BrooksReplyDelete
Hi Heidi! You are part of a group. Writers are quirky people who can worry about one word for days. But in the end. We put our best work on the page. Thanks for stopping by!Delete
This is a great post, Paty. Although we say "I love you" frequently in our family, writing emotion is much different. Sometimes I think because I know what the characters feel, I forget to convey their emotions in my writing. You're right--a good CP is priceless.ReplyDelete
HI Caroline, Emotion is the hardest thing to write and have it show through. I agree, being as we, the writer, knows what they are feeling it requires us to have to think more about it. Thanks for stopping in!Delete
It's exhausting sometimes when you put yourself totally into a story. I find myself more tired after a day of writing than a day of yard work! I'm so glad you have a trusted critique partner. It's difficult for me sometimes to really see at first what someone's comments mean. I make myself take a step away and get a clearer head before attempting revisions.ReplyDelete
Danielle, That is true for me as well. My muscles hold out better than my brain. LOL Critique Partners are valuable. It is a good idea to step away and think things through before attempting revisions.Delete
I can only imagine how difficult it is to balance the telling with the showing... not to mention showing too much before it is necessary. I recently had to stop reading a 'critically acclaimed' and made into a mini-series novel because I couldn't get past the author's writing style. He was all about telling the reading exactly what the characters were doing and feeling using what felt like a patronizing manner.ReplyDelete
Glenda, The balancing act is the hardest. The story comes easy for me but making it flow and the reader feel in the story, that is the hardest part. Thanks for commenting!Delete
Glenda, you are Paty's winner. She's having internet trouble and will get in touch with you on Friday. Congratulations!Delete
HI Glenda, I finally have internet again! Yay! Please email me at patyjag(at)gmail(dot)com please. That way I can get your prize to you.Delete
You're right! Since we know what our characters are thinking and feeling, it's easy to forget to put that information on the page. I'm lucky to belong to a couple of great critique groups. The members don't let me get away with leaving out emotions (or taste or smell or the other senses either!)ReplyDelete
Sandra, it sounds like you have a good critique groups. The senses are major as well. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!Delete
I have the exact same problem. I have to walk away from the manuscript and do some meaningless task (that I've been avoiding) but which allows me to ponder what the character should be thinking in a particular scene. Great post!ReplyDelete
Judy Ann, It's usually while I'm doing some mindless chore that I get my best ideas. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!ReplyDelete