Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Using What Moves You

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on What Moves You. I listed some of the things that reach a deep part of me, and that do so time and time again. If you haven't taken any time to think about some of the things that move you, I suggest you do so, because that knowledge can add depth to your writing (or any other creative work).

Getting through any creative project can be gut-wrenchingly hard sometimes. I think the biggest reason it can be so hard is because what you are producing during the project is so much less than the vision you carry in your mind. You have this amazing, epic book with characters that wring out emotion from readers all envisioned in that creative spot that's a merging of your mind and soul. And then you read the words you've put down and it has as much excitement as Hamburger Helper instructions. That's discouraging.

Note: Perhaps this is only unique to me and my writing. If it doesn't ring a bell with you, will you please share your secrets in the comments? K Thx.

To get through that discouragement and push on, there has to be something in your work that really matters. If you've somehow incorporated something/some things that move you, then that will help you keep with it. Let me give you some examples from my list and some comments from the post the other day.

What moves me:
People who rise above the unfairness life has dealt them.

How to use it:
Make my protagonist matter to me, by throwing them in unfair situations, and then going through the growth with them needed to rise above those circumstances by the end of the book. Voila! Instant character arc that matters to me.

What moves me:
Children's laughter.

How to use it:
Don't hold back and really play with the absurd in my story so that when children read it, they will laugh.

What moves Jennifer:
People who show unbelievable amounts of forgiveness.

How to use it:
Give your antagonist a prime opportunity to show forgiveness, and they choose not to. Or have a mentor, friend, or family member of a character show that forgiveness near the beginning of the book. Have the protagonist look down on that other character for being "weak" but eventually come to understand that forgiveness takes much more strength than holding grudges.

What moves Cathy:
Beautiful scenery.

How to use it:
Bring depth to setting by describing the scenery not in how it looks, but how it makes a character feel.

How do you use what moves you?


Taffy said...

Great post, thanks Jaime! I needed permission to use my own experiences as jumping off points for my characters.

Cathy Witbeck said...

Jamie, I have awarded you the prestigious Versatile blogger award because your blog is da bomb. For futher details, refer back to my blog.