31 March

Bleeding onto the Page...


Bleeding onto the page...
If you can open yourself up and display genuine emotion on the page - and no, I do NOT mean endless purple prose babble - you WILL touch your reader, and your delivery, your message will make that reader a lifelong fan.
The Problem: 95% of writers are shy. Why this is, I haven't a clue, but there you go. It's just a fact. The other 5% are probably shy, too, but have trained themselves to be extroverts (but after being out and about and charming all and sundry, they have to rest and regenerate at home, in private. Oops, did I type that out loud, about myself, ALL the time? 😉)
The Key: Remember that all writers are society's livers. We filter the human experience and deliver it in palpable, bite sized pieces to people who need to know what breathing on this Blue Marble is all about.
The Process: when you sit down and write out a book scene, put your heart into it. LIVE in that scene yourself. Don't be a writer distanced from your characters. BE there with them. FEEL what they're feeling. Walk where they walk. Have the courage to display your emotional faults and foibles through that scene and through those characters.
The Clue: you've only written a scene fully and correctly IF you feel uncomfortable and exposed afterwards. If you feel in control and protected, go back and rewrite that sucker. Even if the words written down are perfectly chosen and the grammar shines like diamonds, what you have written without your deepest emotions woven into the text is effectively shiny sawdust. Useful to no one.
The author, Truman Capote, had this problem. Before In Cold Blood, he was accused of being "distanced" in his prose, and it was true. Why was he distanced? Because, as a gay man in the '50s, legal and physical harm could come to you if you publicly put yourself too far out on a limb. He had grown up knowing protection was needed. He wrapped a shell around himself, and sadly, until 1959, his works, although perfectly written, projected that removed, distanced feel. Truman was telling the reader a story, but he wasn't living it himself to truly provide a genuine experience for the reader.
What happened when he open up his heart researching the Kansas Clutter murders is that his craft soared into the stratosphere with a tale no one could put down. His heart and soul BLED through every page and soaked every word. You as the reader took Truman's hand as he walked with the killers and the victims. You weren't even a degree away from his journey. You were in that farm house, and you heard and felt those gun shots. In Cold Blood was, and is, a literary earthquake that gives off after shocks to this very day.
Did he take it too far? Did he obsess, and did that obsession hurt his psyche? Unfortunately, yes. 
There IS a fine line, and you as the writer must constantly walk that line. It's the risk you must take as an artist. The chance you may get hurt while helping your readers is truly your raison d'être.
Bleed on that page. If you haven't cried or sighed or shivered or screamed or laughed out loud after writing a scene, delete that sucker. You're affecting no one. 
Art IS affect. Bleed.

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