Monday, July 25, 2011

Revision TIP #2394873985720371-84-192481-29

Now THAT is a very melodramatic post title. Am I right? Okay, so I can't remember how many times I've posted on revision, but I'm thinking you can never have enough little (or big blunt) helpers in that arena. At some point we all have to do it.

REVISE REVISE REVISE they say. And 'they' are right. Those queen (or KING) bees sitting up in the cosmos with their irretrievable pointer fingers, pointing straight at me (or you...when they are finished with me...which basically never happens), telling us'all to keep revisin'. 'Cause your book will suck--really it will--until you are done with this part of the pig-killin' process. (or chickens, if you don't like pig. Or vegis if you don't eat meat... but why wouldn't you?).

What I want to talk about today is: EMOTION.

It's my thought that a book isn't complete unless there is some thought provoking or emotion stirring experience in each and every scene. In my revision notes I tell myself to go back specifically looking for these in every chapter. Be it ultra-rainbow brite happiness,

devil-may-care giving up attitudes,

scared pant-less, shocked spineless (does that even make sense? *hits self over the head with fists*),

or in the depths of your soul-searching liners that get you to deeply think.

Yes, this is really thought provoking =)
OH yeah, and general weepiness (why does my computer say that isn't a word?! It is now, bwahahaa).

Don't ask me why the pics today are generally colorless. That's not right. All emotions should be color-coded in my opinion.

Now there is this deep dark secret that helps writers capture the essence of emotion on paper, er computer screens. I'm going to give you that secret right now. Be patient. I'm thinking. Oh yeah...
It's called....



Yeah, that's not hard is it? We've all felt a galaxy of sparkling, nice smelling emotions, or if we haven't we have been inspired by others who have captured these emotions. I can't tell you what each emotion should feel like. That is something you have to come up with yourself. (And shouldn't every book be unique to us?) But we can all think up times when we've felt certain ways. Even if those feelings weren't justified (I felt a lot of silly things as a teen and admit now that I wasn't justified in over half of them). And the best way to give your story a high mark on the readability scale is to meld these emotions into your book.

Think of your surroundings at the time of heightened emotion. Did the place you were in affect your feelings? Was it something someone said? The person, or type of people you were with? The tension that had built to that perfect/ultimate moment? Maybe it was a combination of all these things plus a tall cup of hot chocolate with the perfect amount of mountainous whipped cream and candy cane to stir it all together with sprinkles on top.  (Everyone is obsessed with sprinkles on the internet these days, so I couldn't very well be biased).

Ya think?

I think: therefore I can add emotion to my story.

Sometimes this requires you to dig deep, rifle through your high school journal or diaries (depending on if you are male or female and whether or not you relied on a diary as a best friend of sorts since you were most likely a loser like me if you did... jk), study books/movies/tv(blech) specifically for these emotional traits. Watch to see how or why they work, or why they struck a spot on your rosy pink heart shell. Then see how you can effectively add elements of this to your own WIP.

Go to it. (yeah, that's my catch phrase now).

Any other emotions I'm missing out here? (make sure to list their color-code in the comments). How do you achieve heightened emotion in your WIP? Do you have techniques? Or do you even think about it?

*added later:

Disclaimer: You cannot have the same emotion back to back in your story. In fact I think it's a great practice to change emotions mid-scene (seeing as how each chapter should be it's own story complete with climax). So, count that: TWO emotions per scene. Probably not more, unless you count confusion. But be careful with confusion. If your character is confused, your reader will be likewise. (something I'm currently working on fixing in my WIP). 

No one actually wants to be happy constantly. It's true. Without other emotions to switch things up for us, we get bored. And we can't have bored people out there. It tends to sway them to laziness or idolatry. Which is a sin. If you are Christian. If you are not, then by all means, be bored =). But I caution, this isn't a fun state to be in. I'd rather be in the state of Utah...or Nebraska for instance. ('cause there're really cool people in NE).


The Golden Eagle said...

Great point about life experience--people watching is all well and good, but if the writer has actually gone through those emotions then it can make it feel more genuine.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

This is some great stuff. I'm kind of in love with your banner. I hope your book comes out so I can read it! What are you reading this comment for? Go back to writing!