I've been writing. That project I told you about in May that was writing itself is a complete first draft. I love it. It's very unconventional, and I'm not altogether sure that the structure works, but it's totally unique and I love the story and the characters.
This novel has had me in tears several times in the writing. That's only happened to me with one other book, a contemporary I wrote before Personal Demons. And it got me thinking.
The most frequent revision comment I get from my agent is something along the lines of: "What is she feeling here?" I have to be honest and say that I really hate having to write what a character is feeling. I understand that sometimes it's necessary, but I really want my readers to get it from the situation, the dialogue. I want it to come through without me having to spell it out. I feel like, if I've done my job and gotten a reader into my characters' heads, then I shouldn't need to tell them that "cold dread snakes through her gut." The reader should know that. It goes to the whole principle of "showing, not telling." And, honestly, sometimes telling just comes off as cheesy and melodramatic.
As an experiment, I went back to the only book that's made me cry in the last few years, Where She Went by Gayle Foreman. I read the chapter that caused the leak in my plumbing. In that chapter, on average, once a page she say something like "...and I feel my stomach bottom out." That's once a page. Once in every 250 words, on average. On each of those pages, there's dialogue and exposition, but rarely any "telling" of what Adam is feeling. But believe me when I say we feel it--me to the point of tears. She's done her job.
I'd love to know what, if any, book has brought you to tears recently. And, if you have the chance, as an experiment, go back and do what I did. See how often that author "tells" you what the character is feeling, either by naming the emotion (confused, afraid) or by giving you a visceral description.
And, now for today's Original Sin Teaser. More from Matt:
#OriginalSin p152 Matt: She looks at me and, just for a second, it feels like she’s seeing the real me. Her eyes lock on mine and her mouth tilts up with the hint of a smile. She reaches for my hand and laces her fingers in mine, and my insides explode in a burst of ecstasy.
See! I did it. His insides are exploding in ecstasy! *headdesk*
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