Friday, 11 October 2013

I'll feel what she's feeling...


I’ve reached a crucial moment in my women’s novel. Everything hangs on it. So, no pressure or anything, but I have to get it right. It’s a scene of intense emotional pain for my protagonist, as something incredible is revealed to her. The set up needs to be perfectly executed so that this moment makes complete sense and the rest of the story falls effortlessly into place.

But, instead of writing through the pain, I am tempted to stop here and edit.

On the one hand, my usual style is to splurge it all out, get to the end and then edit. Splurging allows for the unexpected to pop up and surprise you with joyful little twists or connections you might not have made otherwise.

On the other hand, if everything is not in its proper place at this point, the editing will take longer. Editing hours increase exponentially with the number of words you write.  

What’s the big deal, I hear you ask. Does it really matter which way you approach it?

And it’s a good question. When I started writing this blog post, I thought it was going to be a ‘help me decide’ kind of post. But now I’ve written it down, I can see that it’s not. What has become clear is that this is much more about a moment of intense emotional pain, and the avoidance of… To get in ‘that’ zone, I’m going to have to feel it too.

If there's an elephant in the room,
you're going to have to hug it.
When people say ‘write what you know’ they aren’t talking so much about the facts and the detail, as to the emotions connected to those facts and details. We can all research brain surgery, flying to the moon, living on the streets; but if we don’t attach the emotional experience of those things to our writing, then we might as well not bother.

So, what’s it to be now? Oh yes, back to summoning up my moment of heart wrenching pain. Jeez, writing is hard sometimes.