Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good writing versus boredom

Good morning, good morning!

So, the other day, we all took a family trip to Vermont (long story). As we were driving home & the little one was sleeping, I was asked to tell a story. So, I went over the basic synopsis of Impeccable. Since I've bearly just started it, I'm not quite sure where this book is going to take me. Anyway, we discussed the one key factor in this book. It can either be really good, deep & moving, or it can be BORING.

Having known since day 1 that would be the case, I have approached this book with some trepidation. The last thing I want to do is to write a BORING book. Ugh.

So, how does one execute a book that is deep, meaningful & moving without losing their readers? It's a very fine, really. Just like all art forms, writing is subjective. What some may enjoy, others may be bored to tears. It's very tricky to fenagle.

I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I'll give it my best shot.

First, emotions and strong dialogue.

If you are looking to create an emotional story with more talk than action, you need to make sure you really convey the emotions. Make them so deep that they are palpable. Make your reader feel what the character is feeling. Go back and check out my blog from 12/17.

In that blog, I say, "In my opinion, that sensitivity makes me a better writer. How so? Because I fully understand the depth of various emotions. I have seen what my charcters have seen. I have endured what they have endured. I know exactly how they feel. I think empathy is key in being able to relay emotions through words and to be able to genuinely touch the reader.As writers, we want to convey every detail of our story(-ies) to our readers. We want them to see the movie in our minds. We want them to hear and smell the same things the characters do. We want them to FULLY experience our books.

Thus, it is important as writers to open up. A clammed up writer has no readers. Why? Because their work will be dry and boring. Sorry, don't mean to offend anyone, but it's true. In order to really get your readers hooked, you have to make them laugh, to make them cry, to make them scared, or to make them smile. For me, good literature isn't always about the most eloquent wording (though there are some writers past and present who continually blow me away with their verbage). For me, it's all about "relate-ability." Can I as the reader relate to the people in the story? Do I care about the,? Do I like them or hate them (some times appropriately so, sometimes just because)? Am I getting sucked into their world because of their depth, and the depth of their emotions? If you find yourself struggling to truly relay emotions and reactions, do what actors do. Go back into your life. Whether it was a happy moment, a devastating moment, a moment of glory, whatever. Go back in your head and let yourself feel that emotion. Then take that feeling to put into words that will best suit your characters. Remember that your characters are people too. They deserve every opportunity to think, feel and experience. Don't short change them, your readers, or even yourself."

Ok, that was wordy and long, I know. But sometimes that's the best way to explain things.

Anyway, moving on. Dialogue is also key in these kinds of books. If your dialogue is weak, your story will be weak. Your dialogue is going to be the main vessel and the action of the book. Keep your dialogues true (write it out like people really speak. Seriously. One of the things that has annoyed me about various books throughout my life time is their lack of truth. If you write dialogue like, "Thou dost hateth me." And your characters are set in modern times, please don't even bother! LOL).

We know that there are an infinite number of stories yet to be told. Some are scary and captivating. Others are heartwarming. Others move us, make us think. Anyone ever hear of a little book called "Tuesdays with Morrie"? Yeah, that book will movie you. There are no hostage scenes. No shoot outs. No steamy sex scenes. But if that book doesn't move you, I don't know what will. Books like that are to be our models. Not that we need to steal from them, but we need to look at how they were written and emulate that so that we may convey those emotions as well.

You can absolutely have a book that is deep and meaningful. Not every book has to have you on the edge of your seat. That's one of the advantages to being a story teller. We can choose which genre we want to use. Just as you use words to create gripping, suspenseful scenes, use words that will move your readers, maybe change their perspective, or just let 'em cry!

Words are our friends. They are the tools of the writer. If you're working on a deeper book but find that your vocabulary is lacking (and thus your point is not coming across correctly), then learn a new word ever day. Start integrating it not only into your writing, but into your daily vernacular. The more you study and use your tools, the better you will be at using them and creating the depth you want.

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