Real Life In Fiction

It’s been a while between blog posts – computer troubles! But it hasn’t stopped me from doing what I love most, which is writing.

I’m constantly learning and trying to perfect my writing craft, and I’m the worst (best?) self-critic.

Do you ever find yourself reading your own material and, while a part of you feels that parental love towards it, you’re finding that some areas are falling flat? By all means love your novel or nonfiction masterpiece, but don’t hold back tearing parts to shreds when your gut tells you something’s off.

For me, my biggest issues were the dreaded “Show Don’t Tell”, and the emotions / relationships portrayed between my characters. I completed the draft and had a sound plot, but now is the most important part – I want my audience to feel what my characters are feeling. I want them to question alongside my protagonist who to trust. I want them to agonize over a decision that could have dire consequences. 

But how do I do that?

The secret… By delving into my memories, all the relationships, decisions, the feelings I’ve experienced.

What is happening to my protagonist? Have I been in a similar situation? How did or would I feel – truly? And I’m not just talking emotion here. 

If my character is feeling fear and doubt, that can show in many ways – and the great thing is that we as individuals can all react differently in the same scenario, but we feel emotion equally. When you’re scared, how do you feel physically? A few examples: Cold, trembles, your muscles tense like you’re braced to run for it. Emotionally? Fear has an uncanny way of stopping logical thought, panic grows alongside fear. What will you do, what will you do, what will you do!

We’ve all been scared. How did you fight the urge to get out of there? Did you manage it? Is there a scarier consequence if you don’t do this frightening thing? And how does that affect how you cope with the situation?

This is why I love writing. I’ve always been quiet and observant from a young age – mainly due to fear of my own – but I learned a lot about people, their quirks and how different people react in the same situation depending on their personalities. It fascinates and intrigues me, and people themselves offer a whole world of mystery.

A good way to practice this and bring your characters to life is to write small paragraphs about people (or your own characters) that you know very well. One-by-one, put them all in the same situation and I’ll wager that not one of those paragraphs will be the same.

Happy writing!

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