Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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On Writing

I found some good links on writing.

This one is about writing the stages of grief.  It asks, "How do you make your readers cry?"  I have literally never had that problem.  I just write intense things and they reach for kleenex.  The advice to focus on concrete details is sound, though; that and the characterization itself is what readers most often cite that made them cry.  I will add that characterization is very important -- people don't all grieve the same way.  I have characters who bawl shamelessly, others who bottle it up, and a few who punch walls.

Here is a thoughtful, very clinical, look at death scenes.  I have used a number of those, along with other interesting details from various scientific and mystical sources.  One of my favorite examples, though, is the fall of Edmund in the movie The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  It's actually quite subtle so as not to scare the target audience, but put together a motionless casualty, a gut wound, and fast shallow breathing ... my first reaction was "Oh shit."  To anyone familiar with casualties, that's "expectant" under battlefield conditions.  Not counting magical intervention, of course.  Here's one of mine featuring death from massive trauma.

Everyone has fears, and the type of fear can define a character.  Frankly, I tend to find the big ones boring unless they're backed up with a lot of other detail.  But individual fears can be fascinating in their uniquity. They're like hideous handmade sculptures.  Shiv's fear of a childhood basement is concrete to the point you can feel the grit.  Lurking in the shadows around it, more implied than stated outright, are clues as to how much of his personality is motivated by fear and rage due to a wide variety of abuses.
Tags: how to, networking, reading, writing
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