Monday, October 31, 2005

Feelings In Writing

In the past I have written about how my feelings affect my writing (writing as in how much I write more than the content itself).
Then I wrote another post, this time from the reverse angle, about how my writing affects my feeling.

Now we get to the most important subject of all, especially as NaNoWriMo is so near (tonight at midnight), and that is the feelings and emotions that are in our writing.

It is my opinion that the greatest novels evoke emotions, "that emotion is the novelist's stock in trade" as GOB so well put it.

I am not talking about gushy, mushy, trashy stuff, but I am definitely talking about emotions. "Cold writing" doesn't work, shallow emotions don't cut it. We are feeling sort of creatures and that's what we need/want when reading. That's what we have to show when writing.

So just remember that as you embark on your NaNo adventure and good luck to you all.

Blogging may become sparse, I still don't know...



The Phoenix said...

I agree, writing has capture your emotions. The reader has to really want to read every word, every sentence...and only by evoking emotions is that possible.

The greatest novels do strikes that chord inside and makes you want to keep reading.

Melly said...

Well phoenix, you just said it so much better. Thanks :)

Stranger Ken said...

I agree, although I don't know how possible it is to write well or effectively if you're in the grip of the emotions you want to write about. After all, feeling intense emotions is no guarantee of having something worthwhile to say, is it? Don't you think there has to be some distance, a degree of cool detachment?

Eric Mutta said...

I wonder. Is there a correlation between the use of pen names, great writers and the display of emotion in writing?

Me thinks there's a link. Great writers use emotion in their works. They can do so because they use pen names which keep them anonymous thus enabling them to let loose without fear. Hmmmmmmm.

melly said...

Hi Ken. I"m in absolute agreement. If anything else was understood from my post, then that was the wrong impression I conveyed unintentionally (bad bad writing ;).
Insofar as my feelings affect my writing, they usually affect the processs more than the content, that is I would write less or I would write more if I'm depressed or happy (depending on the why). But my feelings don't affect the content, or the feelings I write about don't become mine.
Maybe that's what you mean when you say detachment?
In any event, very little of my writing is emotions that I personally feel. I don't ever recall being violent, yet I write about violent feelings for example, etc.

Maybe it relates to what Eric says about pen names. I sort of disagree with you, Eric. The writing that comes out of my own emotions is not the bulk of my writing, quite the contrary, yet I am considered to have very emotional writing (in my fiction).
I also don't know many fiction writers who use a pen name or writers who write only about themselves so that a panname might become necessary.

Lee Carlon said...

It's funny I don't consider my writing to be emotional (I'm sill not entirely comfortable with this human emotions) and yet the stories I write are designed to have an emotional impact. As you said; without that, why would anybody keep reading?

Paul Darcy said...

Evoking emotions with the written word is key to sucking in readers and making your characters (human, non-human, animal, vegetable, mineral) believable.

Another key aspect (I think) to good writing is passion - and I think its effect shows up in the those great novels (of which everyone has their own opinions - for me it's Donaldsons as one example). You may not want to, or necessarily be able to, write with emotions flying high, but I would suggest a healthy dose of passion while penning your masterpiece.

Enough from me.

Back to my script.

Good luck in NaNo.

Jennifer said...

EMotions...feelings are what let us connect to the character. If a reader can't connect...well then chances are the writer hasn't suceeded.

melly said...

Lee, exactly what I feel :)
I don't think we could have done without.

Passion to writing is definitely important, Paul. And yes, even minerals should have emotions if they are characters in your story. LOL.

Jennifer, I had no doubt you'd agree/think that way. You write with so much passion and so much emotion that you'd have to think it :)

Pat Kirby said...

Well, I'm one of those "stupid" people who writes and talks about people. (Vague snark at arrogant someone who said only stupid people talk about other people; intelligent talk about ideas. Ugh.)

I have to connect with my characters. I call myself a method writer (like method actor), in that I drop into the characters. And obviously emotion drives many of the characters' actions.

Anyhoo, best of luck with your new project!

melly said...

Thanks Pat.
You're right. Maybe it's a simple obvious. If we write about people and what drives most people is emotion, then, by default/definition we write about emotions...

Anonymous said...

I am trying to take my time writing in this year's NANO because I am really just using it as a springboard to finish my novel. I don't want to rush through and end up with a bunch of unreadable garbage at the end! BTW - Thanks for reading my blog!

melly said...

Oh, but you're most welcome Fredcq :)
Taking your time is probably a good strategy, especially if you use NaNo more to finish rather than start a new project.

The Taorist said...


I have a comment for your comment on my blog. You are welcome to react to it or you can e-mail me directly

The Taorist said...

Feelings are like knives.

You can use it to kill (a story) or use it for cooking (up a story).

If you give up control of the story to your emotions-your blog just becomes a ranting post. It's good to let loose for a while but it becomes a boring read. Too much emotional control turns you into a voyeur. The detachment is so obvious it hurts the eyes. It becomes less believable. The extremes are bad for your story.

Moderation is the key.

Melly said...

I went and read your comment to my comment, Taorist, thanks.

I look at blog writing as something slightly different than fiction writing, but I totally understand and agree with you about blog writing. Balance is always key it seems, to almost everything. Thanks for bringing this new dimension about writing.

Stranger Ken said...

Probably my misunderstanding, melly, not your bad writing. An interesting thread, this one, though. My attention was caught by what Taorist said about cooking up a story, which reminded me of the Zen saying: "remember, when you cook rice, that the water is your life." Connections or only my imagination?

Melly said...

No, not your imagination at all. First time I hear that saying and I love it. You can't put too much water in your story (water down a story), but you have to water the story enough to get to the right tenderness. Perfect!

Thanks Ken :)