Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Emotional Writing

I've spoken in the past about the emotional connection you need to make with your readers in order to get them begging for more.  However, have you ever had an emotional reaction to something you were in the middle of writing?

I'd have written this off as artsy-fartsy nonsense only a few years ago.  However, I've recently re-discovered this phenomenon while writing my latest novel.  I first encountered it when I wrote Salvation Day because of the connection I had to parts of the story(my family situation greatly played into the development of the main character), but it came upon me again while writing the prequel to Homecoming.

The story, indeed the entire world of the books set in that universe, revolves around a man named David Morton and his motivation for doing what he did.  In the beginning of the story, he loses his wife and son in an alien attack.  I don't mean he comes home and can't find them - I mean he watches them blown apart in front of him.  This spurs the rage he has to defeat the foe.

In describing both his family's death scene and the subsequent burial, I found myself getting a little choked up.  No, it's not because I'm egotistical enough to think my writing is awesome like that, but rather because, as we all do, I'm picturing the scene while writing it.  I see him fall to his knees when he comes to and sees their broken bodies.  I hear his thoughts of loss in never seeing his son grow up.  I watch as he sleeps next to the bodies for two days because he can't bring himself to leave.

Anyone with children can, I think, relate.  Anyone who has that special someone in their life that they've devoted themselves to can, I think, relate.  Even when you're describing a character far removed from your current situation, it's hard not to picture your loved ones.  Having to imagine them in that scenario, as well as your own grief in the ensuing days, can be enough to get a reaction out of most people.

Surprises like this make me wonder what else I'm in store for as this story moves along.  Part of me is a little reticent, but most of me can't wait to enjoy the ride.

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