Good morning, it’s Thursday, and that means I’m going to post a throwback from my earlier posts. Essentially a re-post of an old archived post with new notes and observations.
Anything added(except grammar and spelling corrections) are marked in blue within the original Post’s text.
The next post I’m going to revisit is, Switch It Up, And Swap It Out . Originally posted on Sep 2, 2016, 8:53 AM. The reason I’m revisiting is that this was one of my favorite posts and it’s still relevant.
Switch It Up, And Swap It Out.
“If you don’t read it, you will never know how it all begins and how it ends. Not to mention all the good stuff in the middle.” -SLM
I have been talking a lot about emotions and making people feel them in my writing. People run on emotions so putting them in writing is important as long as it doesn’t become eye-rolling melodramatic. I read a book recently that made me bawl my eyes out. The kicker is that the story that made me so upset wasn’t even about the main characters. It was a side story of characters not even active in the book. Awesome.
Recently a friend told me she became emotional and teary at a scene in my book she is proofing. I told her that was a huge compliment. Am I sorry she cried? No, because eliciting emotions is what I strive for. (Since this I’ve written more stories and my current one Prophecy Ink has received reviews that it brought out feelings for and toward characters.)
Sometimes the obvious isn’t, just as the subtle can be blatant. Even if I know what is coming, maybe I don’t. I have had moments when I’m writing when all of a sudden I look at the screen and I think, holy that would be crazier if… And then I change it up. Sometimes it’s a character swap, something designed for someone would be more impactful for another. Other times it’s a scene change. The library was the scenario but I swap it out for a dog treat bakery. If it can lead to a better conversation or something funny, I tend to lean to the unusual.
This example is not from my book, but from a collection of bits and pieces for another.
Side by side, Yava, and Theo lay facing each other, the melodious sound of Mary Lou Williams softly filling the small sterile room. It has been a day since Yava last spoke; too weak for words.
“They say, my love, that your entire life flashes before your eyes.” Theo brushed a stray wisp of white hair from her cheek with a shaky hand. “The days of youth, the pesky teens, dancing the night away, your first kiss, your first love.”
The corner of Yava’s mouth curled and relaxed.
Theo sighed softly. “Ah the wedding, making love, all those crazy kids. The fights and makeup sex. The cool nights and days in the sun. Our kids growing up, moving out and getting married. All the wee grandbabies have grown up. Some with their own tots.”
Tears pooled in her eyes and her lips pressed tightly together.
“Oh my love, my Yava, we have lived, truly lived have we not?”
“Yes, Theo darling.” She let her unchecked tears fall to the pillow. “No life has been filled as much as ours.” She rubbed her thumb over his fingers clasped in her hand.
A deep long exhale, the last blink of those sky-blue eyes etched forever in her mind as he slipped from the world to greet the flash of his life.
Originally, Yarva was the one to pass on. However, as I got to the end I thought, what if she doesn’t? (Because I’m in edit and revise mode I changed the original story a little. Mostly because I can’t help myself.)
My advice about switching it up.
Don’t be afraid to try out a different angle or outcome. Write both or more and see what tugs at your emotions. Give it to someone else and see what they have to say. (This is still the advice I would give. I’ve completely rewritten chapters to make a scenario different or even change the character or outcome. It can make a dull scene so much better.)