It’s time for another excerpt in my writing quote series for this month. I feel like this is going to be a tough one to write because I’m still getting the hang of showing versus telling in my writing, and emotions, in particular, are harder to interpret with just words. But, those who are further along in their craft, are able to show emotions in their work and elicit emotions from the reader. This is what inspires me to continue to work on the craft of writing–to be good enough to write a complete story which brings out all elements of the human experience including emotions.
First, let me share the quote for this week. It’s by James Michener and reflects how I feel about the words I put together. “I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” Aren’t these words amazing? A true expression of how a writer can make people feel as they read the words they have written. These feelings can be good. They can be bad. They can share sadness. They can express joy. Every feeling in the human experience can be shown through words. But, (and I bet you knew there would be a but), it’s not good enough to just say someone is sad. For it to have an impact on the reader, it has to be shown they are sad. Here’s an example.
“Joanna couldn’t believe he had just walked out the door. Tears poured down her face as she slumped to the floor. It was like when her mother had died. She could see no path back to when she and Eric had been happy. She knew it was time to move on, but she had to grieve her loss first.”
I have read so many books that have done this well. Brought the zenith of the human experience to me–the highs and lows of this life. I think that’s why Jesus told so many stories. He knew those stories would be the best way for us to learn about Him. We are a people of stories.
But, to write those stories. That is much harder. To write them well, I mean. I find I need to write about my life for it to make sense to me. When I write about my emotions though, I just name them and don’t do a good job of showing I have them. I’ve found people don’t respond well when I do that, especially with negative emotions. They see the word of the emotion, and all of their connotations of that emotion come to the forefront without them even considering what it means to the writer. But, I keep trying. Trying to make myself understandable through my words since I have such a tough time doing it in person.
As I’ve already said, expressing emotions well can be done in writing. It can be done with negative emotions and positive emotions. Here’s an example with positive emotions.
“Her eyes lit up like the sun coming out after a cloudy day. She extended her trembling left hand towards where Robert was holding the ring. Her smile extended from ear to ear. ‘Yes, Robert, I will marry you.'”
The examples I’ve shared here are just a few of what I’ve accumulated with my writing. Through my reading, writing, and research each day, I store words in my heart by reading the greats in my field and write them on paper to practice what I’ve learned. This has helped in my development as a writer. The one thing that has helped the most though is the emotions I’ve experienced in my life. Yes, you can write about emotions without experiencing them. But, I find that experiencing the emotions makes my writing deeper and puts it further towards the chance of being published. Emotions–they’re a part of what makes us human whether we are experiencing them, reading about them, or writing about them.
Let me know the hardest emotion you’ve ever had to write in the comments.
Have a great day, all!