+ Tears

I have a lot of fun watching people, their reactions and comparing them to my own. It is fascinating to realize that people respond in such a wide variety of ways to simple things.

Since I’ve talked about blood and sweat it’s fitting that I take a poke at tears. Tears are wrapped tightly around emotions and pain and a huge part of life. They can easily be over used in writing and are often the go to for anyone wanting to brashly show emotion. The temptation to turn to tears is easy because they are the visible product of emotions that come from the windows to the soul.

I like to get overly creative with tears and or crying if I can(or remember to). Mostly because if I’m careful they can express an emotion without internalizing the POV. The trick is to stay away from melodrama and understand that crying isn’t always why we tear up. Also not everyone cries and some cry at the drop of a dime.

Reasons for tears
Sadness

Anger
Embarrassment
Desperation
Joy/happiness
Something in the eye
Cold or illness
Wind
Flash of bright light
Pain
Manipulation (this one can be fun to give an antagonist to use.)
Acting

It is easy to go right to crying when writing but it actually can take a lot before a person is emotionally there. This is where paying attention to real people and how they deal with emotions can help.

Some ways to describe or elude to tears
Welling up

Mist/misty/misted
Drops/drips
Streaming
Glistening
Wet/wetted
Damp
Moist (A lot of people dislike this word, use with caution)
Watering
Rapid blinking
Wiping eyes (With anything really, tissue, fingers, sleeves…)

Now that I have an idea how to cause and describe tears. What other things happen when tears are imminent, occurring or when they are over.

Signs tears are about to happen/are happening or have happened
Red nose
Blotchy skin
Sniffles/runny nose/blowing nose/dripping nose
Red eyes
Puffiness
Streaking makeup
Wet skin/drips on clothes/Tear stains (On clothes or if face is dirty tears leave streaks)
Stuttered breathing
Hiccups
Difficulty talking
Down cast eyes
If from sadness a closed off posture, rubbing hands or arms. Looking down at hands or lap People often feel shame after crying (I try to remember to show the shame and not tell it)

For example:

Amber listened to Valery list off her so-called offenses against Sasha and a few others in the office. Most of it was here say and not actual proof or had little fact to it. This is personal, it had to be. Blinking rapidly Amber let big globs build up in her eyes until her vision blurred and then blinked the fat drops down her rosy cheeks.
Valery handed her a tissue. “What do you have to say?”
“Thanks.” Amber sniffled and dabbed the corners of her eyes. “It’s all out of context, I’m being targeted. Jealousy I think.” Amber blinked up through her false lashes at Valery. “It happens all the time.” She fidgeted with the tissue in her hands. “It’s not my fault if that’s how people are going to be. I’m awfully sorry if my sense of humor caused heartache. I’m just the bystander caught in whatever is going on. I get sucked into the gossip too easily, it’s my weakness.”
Valery consoled the desolate Amber and sent her on her way once she calmed down and promised to be nicer and more careful about gossiping.
Amber sniffled as the door closed behind her, a sly smile eased across her lips. “Works every time.”

Cal closed his eyes a moment and took a deep breath as he closed the door behind him. He swallowed and cleared his throat. The woman was a shattered mess of her former self.
“Bastard.” Cal murmured and pressed his forefinger and thumb to his burning eyes.
Detective Miller clapped his hand on Cal’s shoulder. “She’s lucky to be alive Cal, bring her justice, catch the guy.”
Cal shook his head. “That woman’s life is forever changed and that filthy no good piece of…” Cal sighed again, rubbed his face and eyes. “The scum that did that to her Miller, he’s on the loose again.”
The reality was Cal shouldn’t be on the Baylor Crowen case at all. If it wasn’t for a lucky break or two he would have been pulled for being too close to this case. His cell rang and held it to his ear. “Thorn.” Listening his grim face fell further. “What do you mean the officer lost her?” Cal took a slow deep breath in. “I’ll go myself.”
“The protection lose Miss Parsons?”
“Yeah, traffic separated them, she didn’t go where they anticipated and she’s not answering her cell. They’re going to do a drive by her house to see if she’s there.”
Miller cocked his head to the side. “Just a drive by?”
“Yup and a lot of good it will do her if he’s already there. Shit.” Cal turned and Detective Miller followed. “I should have insisted on better protection.”
“Some on the force think Baylor Crowen isn’t Dr.Demolish.”
Cal was nearly running as he got to the parking lot. “Tacky Miller and I bet my life savings that he is.”

 Not all tears need to be shed, some can be close and then disappear. They don’t have to be streaming down in torrents to be useful. Just enough to elude to something greater such as Cal’s reason for hunting down Baylor Crowen and even switching departments to follow him. I pay close attention to how I want a particular character to present tears and keep this info in their Bio’s. A person that cries at sad commercials might not cry in front of others. A man who cries might need to be pushed to his brink before it happens.

My advice about tears.
Tears are not always something to cry about. If you’re going to give someone a reason make it a good one that furthers the story in some fantastic way. Don’t forget to show and not tell, but don’t make everyone crybabies or stoic-feel-nothings find a balance and mix up the degrees of teary moments.
-Sheryl

The other two related posts

Blood

Sweat

That is disgusting

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Filthy

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Moving along…

Even I need a break from time to time, that doesn’t mean I’m not busy doing many other things while not writing a specific blog advice piece. The story of Sasha and Cal is progressing and evolving along with my blog post examples. So the following is another chapter from Cal and Sasha’s story. Following on the heels of the last few posts, I wanted to move the story along to get back to some more examples, advice and tidbits. Here is a brief recap. Sasha was attacked by Baylor in her home. Cal Saved her, he’s a cop. Work has been hell for Sasha, she’s being bullied by her co-worker Amber. Scott, another co-worker, has been attempting to date her while his true colours leak out.

While brushing her damp hair Sasha went to the back door in her kitchen after the third knock.
“Wait, the back?” She froze, her breath caught in her throat as the strangeness finally sunk in.
“Sasha I know your home, I can see you. It’s detective Thorn, I’m here on business.”
Shaking her head, she looked through the thin veil of a curtain covering the window. It was Cal and he had coffee. She could use a coffee after tossing and turning all night. She opened the door and stepped aside.
“Come in Detective. Leave your shoes on, the linoleum is old.”
“Do try to not look so miserable to see me.”
“I make no promises Detective. You said it was business. Why didn’t you just call?” She closed the door as he sat at the small kitchen table. Solid wood and seats four, a house-warming gift from Anne. The chairs creaked and the surface was weathered. It was a true antique, not a replica.
“I brought coffee.” He handed her a tall cup. “And some things should be done in person.”
“Thanks. I suppose it would be hard to text me a coffee.” Sasha opened the lid and frowned. The remnants of the previous day still clung, dampening her mood.
“Double cream, double sugar, the way you like it.”
Her light brown eyes met his dark grey ones. “You follow me everywhere I go and show up at my back door with coffee no less, I’m trying not to be creeped out.”
He chuckled. “You had a cup in your recycling bin with DD on it and your shade of lipstick, I saw it Saturday. I also saw what you added to your coffee yesterday. I came to the back door because I didn’t want to make a scene. A blue haired woman was too interested in me.”
“Phyllis my neighbour is out walking her unnaturally slow dog right?”
“She’s just nosy.” Cal sipped his own coffee looking around the soft yellow kitchen. The old marble countertops were well cared for as were the hand carved cabinets.
“I can see why they made you a detective. So to what do I owe this… coffee.”
“I got a call.” He ran his hand over the carvings on the table edge. “Baylor Crowen is up for bail this morning.”
She choked on her coffee and nearly spit it out on the table. “Bail? Isn’t he like super bad?”
“He’s been charged yes, but lawyers are tricky bastards, his lawyer pulled some strings and the judge will be in his favor, she even moved his case to the top of the pile. The evidence was compromised and he’s claiming you invited him home and changed your mind. Since he didn’t leave a mark on you.” He looked at his coffee cup and poked at the lid.
“My word against his. That sucks.”
“Yes it does. Also he’s claiming that I entrapped him and I sort of…” Cal cleared his throat. “Hit him.”
“I noticed, and thank you for that. Will you get in trouble?”
He half shrugged. “Maybe. Don’t worry about it.”
She tapped her finer on the side of her paper cup refusing to look at the large attractive man at her kitchen table. His piercing grey eyes staring and waiting for her to respond or react. “What is the point of having police if the criminals are just let go anyway?”
“The state of the system is not the police departments doing. I’d like you to come to the station to fill out a more specific restraining order before the hearing.”
“It takes over thirty minutes for police to show up for a domestic disturbance, two hours sometimes. How does a piece of paper protect me exactly?”
Cal smiled at her wit. “If he breaks the conditions he’ll go back to jail.”
“Back.” She sighed. “So assuming he wants to pay me a visit, who’s to say he won’t just bring a gun to a paper cut fight?”
He chuckled despite the seriousness of the situation. “At most it will make him hesitate or scare him off. He’ll be watched and more careful.”
“Ooh he’ll be more careful.” She rolled her eyes. “That’s a relief. So Mr. Bash, slash n dash will just be sneakier and plan instead of employing his usual spontaneity.”
Cal covered his laugh this time and she smirked at him. “I’m sorry detective, I make jokes when I’m nervous and I know they’re tasteless.”
“Nervous huh?” He smiled slyly. “And you can call me Cal.”
“Yes, I’m nervous, upset, whatever. There is a crazy man who goes around beating and cutting women’s faces to pulp who wants to finish what he started with me and he’s going to be free to do so.”
“Let’s go get some real breakfast, talk and head over to the station.”
She ran her fingers through her damp hair. “Okay. Let me call Va, ah my supervisor and.” She tilted her head. “Why are you here and not a normal officer?”
“I don’t live far and since I.” He stopped at her arm crossing and her lowered chin. “I’m invested.”
“Invested?”
He cleared his throat. “I’ve been chasing this guy for months, with no links to any evidence and him being careful…”
“You really did use me that night.”
“No. I was off duty at Starches with some non-force buddies. I spoke with  you before I saw Crowen there.”
She pursed her lips. “Why me? I saw the pictures of the other girls on the news, Valery is more his type.”
“My guess.” He said standing. “Is you snubbed him.”
“I didn’t snub him. I’m just not interested in dating anyone.”
“That was made painfully obvious. Even if it’s not true.”
“I go on dates if I have to, but I don’t date. There’s a difference.”
“A date is dating Sasha. Even that chump player thought so.”
“Look Detective, I don’t need.” She stopped. What could she say; he caught her on a date with Scott. “Give me ten minutes.” She set her empty paper cup in the vintage copper farmhouse sink and went upstairs to call work and put on some makeup.
She learned the five-minute makeup routine years ago and her complexion didn’t require more than a thin application of foundation. Today was already turning out worse than yesterday. The least she could do for herself was to primp and look good in her fear addled misery.
Cal looked at his watch when she came back nine minutes later. “Huh.”
“Don’t get all sexist Detective Thorn. I said ten and meant it. Nine is only because my supervisor was busy and didn’t have time to ask why.” She grabbed her purse and car keys.
“I’ll drive.” Cal opened the door.
“Yes you will. I have work to do this afternoon, Baylor Crowen or no, so I’ll follow in my own car. Unless I’m under arrest that is.”
“Not yet.” He smiled and went to his car as she locked up her house.

My advice today.
If you let the story take you on the journey the readers will gladly go too. I’ll get back to the usual post style next time.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Wisely Perpetrating Gullibility

Setting the mood

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Primp