What I fear the most, and what I obsess over, is emotions that are not authentic. Despite my often questionable sentence structure I will pick at dialogue words, at phrases, time and time again, if I feel they do not fit the character. The problem is that I need to get an idea across, and simply stating it, through internal or interactive dialogue, is the easiest way to do so.
Now romance, romance is all about emotion, so I have to do this often. Romance is about chemistry and hormones, and sex, and good ol’ sparks flying. So there needs to be a great deal of ‘feeling’ going on, of ardor, of agitation, of sensibility in the most Jane Austen sense of the word. There needs to be more than there is in the average human relationship, to be honest, because we are attempting to create a sturdy and affecting escape from the day-to-day. Too Little emotion is not an option.
Too much, however, is a common issue. I re-read conversations I’ve written and wince at the naked need that my characters sometimes express; would, say, a stoic knight really be moved to talk like that? Does it take the reader out of the story to have him do so?
But I know that the need has to be bared. Love, and lust, must be clear.
So how do I bare them without betraying the character? How do I keep them authentic?
A fellow writer,LC Hu (To be found here: http://elsiewho.wordpress.com – do not ask why I am having linking issues this fine eve), was expressing her annoyance with how often and badly authors will break a scene to insert a flashback, and to have their characters ruminate all emo-like on their emotions. As someone often guilty of exactly that, it made me think of how to avoid such pitfalls. We were discussing movies, and how in a visual medium it is possible to express emotions and ruminations without nakedly stating them.
Can we do the same with writing, despite it not being a multi-sensual medium like film? Would it perhaps be even more authentic of me to slip information about a character’s state of mind through other means as opposed to simple, naked statements? Sadly we do not have soundtracks to our writing, but can mood music be slipped in to our fiction? Her and I were coming from different ends of the problem spectrum, but the need is the same – to express aspects of our creations while keeping the audience firmly in the moment and in thrall to the authenticity of our worlds.
I’m working on this. Insinuation is not native to me, but I believe it’s a skill I need to learn.
Also: I have a cat on my lap. He would prefer I was petting, not writing.
(Title explanation: I believe I was going for something in the vein of fish sauce = equals emotion, for like fish sauce thrown in to a dish with too vigorous a hand, add too much emo to a story and you’ve thrown the whole damn thing off, never to be redeemed.
If only one could delete too much fish sauce.)