Saturday, January 23, 2016

Novel Craft: Feels

Hi folks, I am spending the month of January chatting about Novel Craft. This week I'm digging into feels. Every books needs shivery moments, feels. The journey of mining your character's emotional core is tough. It takes days. It takes deep thought. If you are feeling sick at your stomach and have almost a migraine headache, chances are you are in your character's feel zone or you need to take a Tylenol.

Seriously, this emotional goop is essential to your storytelling. Let it flow through you.

Where do you get the goop? This week I went in for my yearly mammogram and before I reached home, I already had a call back for more tests. Feels came quick. Anger. I wanted to sit in my car and bang my steering wheel. Next up, hopefulness, this may be this is nothing, just a routine, let's-make-the-baseline-better call. Then despair slammed me. I just don't want to have cancer...again.  Cancer sucks. Your hair falls out. You feel so listless. Ah, my thoughts are turning to jello, a globby emotional smog monster. Not my favorite thing. As much as I don't want it, I'm in an emotional maelstrom. As much as I hate having to deal, I know that dealing is what makes me the best person.

In real life, emotions come in weird ripples. They make no sense. They are disorderly and inconsistent. It takes days to sort through all of it. In novels, emotions need to controlled, even the out of control ones. The best books reveal the essence of the emotional story. You get maybe a paragraph. Move past the surface and uncover the bones and bedrock of your characters.

Here is a little section from the emotional journey of my WIP Profit.

This was Sarai's story. She was going to die here. The cold curling around her was drawing her into its abyss. Her thoughts slowed.  She'd been so focused on her dream, she’d missed every moment and the truth nipping at her—you don’t get to choose your life. Life chooses you. If she hadn’t been so focused on herself, her dream, what she wanted, she might have seen another path and followed it. She might have found meaning in something else, but instead she’d embraced one vision and heard what she wanted to hear. 

Be present in what life chooses for you. Embrace that it is your journey. Embrace what you must feel. Don't try to get out of it. Go through it with as much meaning and dignity that you can. Then take the gold and sprinkle it your stories. Dealing makes you the best person. It makes for the best story.

Hope this connects with you. I will be back next week with more lessons.

A doodle for your heart.

A quote for your pocket.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller


Trudi Trueit said...

Wise words, Molly! A great post and a wonderful WIP paragraph (made me want to keep reading!). Good thoughts and prayers for you that all is well health-wise.

Molly/Cece said...

Thanks, Trudi, and prayers are always appreciated.

Janet Lee Carey said...

I agree with Trudi. Such wise words, and great snippet from your Sci-fi WIP.

Update us on your health as now I'm worried.

xo Janet