To Feel or Not to Feel…
Those are our only two choices, right? Sometimes I wish there was a happy medium, and for some people, there just might be. But not me. I feel. Boy, do I feel! I can’t turn it off or choose what to feel about. I just feel. Yes, there are times when it’s more inconvenient and painful than others, but you can’t have the good without the bad. It’s that inescapable, bone-deep, ache of it all—the happiness, the sadness, the desperation, the euphoria—that both compels me to write and litters a blank page with description.
To me, a good book is all about how it makes you feel. If I can feel the pain and angst of the characters, then I can also feel their happiness and passion. And that’s what I really want. I want to triumph with them, to conquer, to win, to succeed against all odds. But in order to do that, I have to feel challenged and heartbroken, downtrodden and hopeless—I have to feel the pain that they feel, even if it’s just for a little while.
Have you ever been furious at the end of a book? Or completely, devastatingly heartbroken? Me, I hate books like that, primarily because they have made me feel so deeply that I can’t get past the anguish of it all. I carry it around for days as if it’s my own. But you know what? That’s the sign of a well-written book, even if I hated that it ended badly. The author’s objective was undoubtedly to make me feel and guess what? It worked.
That’s what I hope to achieve with my books, minus the lingering devastation. I want to suck readers into the world of my characters. I want them to feel the heartbreak of rejection, the desolation of loneliness, the crushing weight of failure, but only to accentuate the positive. In the end, I want them to feel the pure joy of finding true love, the sheer relief of making it to the top of the mountain, the utter satisfaction of achieving the impossible. To my way of thinking, if you carry a smile for a couple hours after you finish one of my books, I consider that I’ve done my job. I’ve brought some happiness into your life, if only for a little while. And can’t we all use an extra “win” every now and again?
Thank you, Michelle. I for one agree and feel the writing. This was a reminder. That writers must pour themselves into their writing. Into the worlds, the very hearts and minds of their creations. I mean they don’t have to but why wouldn’t we? When we make a conscious effort to feel, our world and the ones we’ve created intertwine. The end result is depth, realism and heart. The characters, be they Frodo, Pip, Frog or Toad, Winter, Ocilla or L’orrah, will do as we say. Before they submit to our whims, however, I believe he or she may ask: “Do you feel me?” Whether we answer yes or no determines how they will react. They may stay still, arms crossed. Others may twiddle their thumbs waiting. When we search their pain and joy, triumphs and losses, then it begins and sometimes, more often than not, he or she will lead us in a direction we never thought we’d go. They reward us. Any writer would agree. And any reader will know whether or not we are being real.
You want to be a better writer? Search your heart. Then put your self in your m/c’s or protags shoes…or high heels. Or clogs or whatever sort of footwear suits them. I for one have so many pairs of “shoes”…and I love it.
Great things are coming Michelle’s way. Be there to watch and give her a hand in support!
What say you?