Saturday, September 09, 2006

Emotional Suicide

I was reading a fantastic article on Melissa James' website called Emotional Suicide. As I was reading about the depth that she goes to when writing her books, I started to wonder if my ms has enough emotional depth. As I'm writing, I always try to think about how I would react, what I would see, feel, hear etc, but I can't help but wonder if it is enough. Or, on the flipside, when is it too much? When will the reader think, "Oh, will you just get on with the story"?

I know that as a reader myself, if there is a lot of intense emotion and I want more of the story, I'm guilty of...skimming. Yes, I know. As a writer that's a dirty word. We put our blood, sweat, and tears into every word, and the thought of someone skimming over even one syllable is a blasphemous. But we can't control what our readers do. And ultimately we want to write a story that someone wants to read. Period.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. When is there enough emotional depth for you?



lainey bancroft said...

Ah, skimming. I think we're all guilty at one time or another. Particularly since I began writing, I am a lot more analytical about what read. I start skimming when the emotional depth is presented in the form of 'tell'-- and many 'big gun' authors do this. Don't 'tell' me she was 'seething'. 'Show' her flinging a #$%$%$^ coffee cup. Don't 'tell' me she was restless. Let's see her pacing, jogging or watching the sun come up. It amazes me how many names I have struck from my auto-buy list. Complacent because of the 'name' they have made?
For me, if the emotional depth isn't shown, I skim. But maybe I'm talking out my rear. I'll have to go read that article ;-)

Marcy said...

Great comments, Lainey. You're right...if the emotion feels true, it keeps me reading. But sometimes, if the plot is really good, I find myself skipping the emotion to get to the action. But as a writer I will go back and read the emotion once I satisfy my curiosity about what is going to happen next.