Know Jack #4

Road trip! Going to Roanoke, Texas today to see my grandson graduate from high school. Very proud of you Nikolas Kelly.

Writing is an emotional experience. Writing a happy ending can give you a nice case of warm fuzzies. Unfortunately, you won’t have much of a story if everything is sunshine and roses. Conflict, trial, and tribulations are what make stories live. The hero has to do something heroic to get us to cheer for him. Likewise, he has to suffer some blow for us to empathize with him.

Writing such chapter scenes can be draining emotionally. The writer must feel the anger, pain, and shame, right alongside the character. But what happens when all those emotions build over the course of writing…and you come to the end of the chapter? Do those feelings simply vanish?

Of course, I can only speak for myself but I’d like to add a rousing, “Hell No!” to that notion. Feelings have to replaced or superseded by an equally powerful force or they will linger. Yesterday, I had to write about the utter humiliation of my character…whom I’ve just spent four chapters building sympathy for. I came away mad as hell about what happened to her.

I know…she’s not real. Except, she is because the same thing has happened to countless women. Don’t read any social propaganda into that. This is not a feminist campaign. I hope you know me better than that. It is just that in this case, the character is a woman. The similar situation happens to a male in my upcoming novel, Trails of Trouble.

Before a reader can emotionally connect and invest themselves in a story, the writer must do so. I think it’s easy enough to do and very hard to undo. Thankfully, I have friends to talk me down.

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