Blog

Scratch It Till It Bleeds
Saturday, December 5, 2020 by Cindy Sproles

Courtesy of www.pixabay.com & Anemone123The story was good. It flowed well. I didn’t see any real writing blunders, but something was missing. It was a paid critique for a conferee and it needed to be concise and filled with direction. I saved my critique notes and put it   away. Maybe tomorrow, I could put my finger on what was wrong with this manuscript. How could you have good writing and flow, no holes, good dialogue, and still have something missing?

I turned off my computer and headed to bed. I thought I was sleeping well, but at 1 a.m. sharp, I sat straight up in the bed with the answer. There was little to no emotion. The story was good, but weak because it lacked emotion.

I owe a lot of my writing lessons to my dear friend Eddie Jones. I’ve told him repeatedly through the years that it was him who took enough interest in my potential, to teach me to write. To this day, I still refer to him as a tough old bird but that toughness taught me a valuable lesson.

We were working on a fiction novel together when he called. I’ll never forget the words. “Cindy, you write good. You have great description, good thoughts but it’s like you’re standing out in left field. You’re no where near your story. You need to learn to step into your story and bleed.”

Bleeding onto the page was not a phrase I’d heard at that time but when he explained it, boy did it make sense.

He was right, a story without emotion is flat and I see this frequently in critiques I do. Everything seems to be there but the story has no umph. So I want to teach you what Eddie wisely taught me.

Add emotion into your writing. Find it and insert it but don’t insert it haphazardly. Mean it. The question then becomes how do I find a deep emotion? 

Emotion is not always having your protaginst sobbing on the street corner. Certainly emotional scenes move the reader but it’s more than a sad, heart wrenching thing.

Here are some ways to learn to find emotion:Courtesy of www.pixabay.com & Anemone123

*Emotion comes from description of the scenery around the story. Learn to look around your fictional space and dig out the breeze that blows and how it feels. Does it send chills or does it feel like a kiss. The emotion is deeper than just seeing the object or feeling the things in the scene. It’s digging into the effects of those things on your character. Ask the question – How does this make my character feel? And if you can’t answer the question, then it’s time to look deeper. The things around us stir emotion be it a baby’s laughter or the touch of a breeze.

*Find the place in your soul that stirs you, moves you to tears, and then, as Eddie said, scratch it until it bleeds. It doesn’t mean you write sad things it means you connect to the things that move you and then you allow that to direct your words. When you grasp doing this, you will write better scenes than ever before be it joyous or sad.

*Don’t be afraid to share your emotion. Readers aren’t going to think you’re silly, instead they relate to your characters feeling joy or empathy, even anger. Show don’t tell. Show the reader the reaction of the emotion because then, they can draw the picture in their mind.

*Use strong dialogue – Think of those emotional times you’ve shared with friends. Remember the conversation. It’s usually raw and untapped. Share that with your readers. Banter displays deep emotion so learn to utilize it. Allow your characters to talk not just bottle up their emotions.

It takes time to develop good emotion in your writing because it means you must allow yourself to become vulnerable. You must learn to feel deeper than you have before. Once you find that scab in your heart, then scratch it. Let it bleed. You will find the best words you have ever had will flow onto the page.

 

Photos courtesy of www.pixabay.com & Anemone123

Share This Blog:


Comments

Carolyn Knefely From SC At 10/10/2019 6:26:38 AM

Outstanding and motivating. Write on!

Jane A Duquette From FL At 10/9/2019 9:00:12 AM

Am I missing something? This post ends with a colon, and I can't find the subsequent list.

Mountain Breeze Writer


Previous Posts

Wonky is Hard
Cindy Sproles
4/25/2021

Present Yourself Approved and Professional
Cindy Sproles
1/28/2021

Integrity - An Authors Valued Trait
Cindy Sproles
1/8/2021

Homonyms – Did You Sea/See Them Their/There?
Cindy Sproles
1/8/2021

Writer Self-Care - Welcome 2021
Cindy Sproles
1/4/2021

Hope in a New Year
Cindy Sproles
1/1/2021

Silent Night
Cindy Sproles
12/25/2020

One More Christmas Thought - Taken from ChristianDevotions.US blog
Cindy Sproles
12/25/2020

A Christmas Saga - Joy in the Season
Cindy Sproles
12/24/2020

When Writing Grows Hard
Cindy Sproles
12/22/2020

Permission to Quit - No Way
Cindy Sproles
12/18/2020

The Power of the Pen
Cindy Sproles
12/15/2020

The Good, The Bad, and the Memoir
Cindy Sproles
12/11/2020

The Immeasurable Power in You
Cindy Sproles
12/8/2020

Scratch It Till It Bleeds
Cindy Sproles
12/5/2020

Closing Up Shop - Renting or Selling Our Parent's Home
Cindy Sproles
9/5/2020

Humility in Writing
Cindy Sproles
7/7/2020

Let it Percolate
Cindy Sproles
7/3/2020

Mentoring - A Wise Choice
Cindy Sproles
6/29/2020

Divorce My Words?
Cindy Sproles
6/23/2020

Icy Self-Talk Will Freeze Your Writing
Cindy Sproles
6/19/2020

The Power in You
Cindy Sproles
6/16/2020

Waiting
Cindy Sproles
6/12/2020

Who Really Sells Your Books
Cindy Sproles
6/9/2020

Social Media When You Aren't Social Media Minded
Cindy Sproles
4/20/2020

What Really Is Important
Cindy Sproles
4/12/2020

In the Midst of Chaos
Cindy Sproles
3/17/2020

The Heart of God
Cindy Sproles
2/14/2020

Writing in a Pickle
Cindy Sproles
1/30/2020

The Adult Day Care Alternative
Cindy Sproles
1/23/2020

Social Media Blitz
Cindy Sproles
1/19/2020

The Joys of Aging
Cindy Sproles
12/30/2019

The Reality of Who We Are?
Cindy Sproles
12/22/2019

Publishing Trends
Cindy Sproles
11/30/2019

Be Thankful ANYWAY
Cindy Sproles
11/28/2019

Writing Your Mission Statement
Cindy Sproles
11/19/2019

Perseverance to Write
Cindy
11/16/2019

Common Sense Tips for When You Write
Cindy Sproles
11/9/2019

The Battle is Fought
Cindy
10/15/2019

Twelve Tidbits of Wisdom from Top Christian Writers
Cindy Sproles
10/5/2019

Pray with Fire
Cindy Sproles
10/3/2019

The Easy In
Cindy Sproles
9/24/2019

The Art of Self-Editing
Cindy Sproles
9/10/2019

Questions, Questions
Cindy Sproles
9/6/2019

15-Minute Appointments - Important Networking
Cindy Sproles
9/3/2019

Don't Close Your Eyes - Bob Hostetler
Cindy Sproles
2/5/2019

Love Your Faculty
Cindy Sproles
10/17/2018

Forging Ahead after Rejection
Cindy Sproles
7/17/2018

cindysproles.com Privacy Policy
Cindy Sproles
6/4/2018

Closing Up Shop - Guiding Seniors to Letting Go
Cindy Sproles
4/9/2018

Publishing Naysayers
Cindy Sproles
3/16/2018

In Prayer - I Write
Cindy Sproles
3/3/2018

Keep Them Reading
Cindy Sproles
1/12/2018

Encouraged - Even When . . .
Cindy Sproles
1/2/2018

Christmas Tears
Cindy Sproles
12/18/2017

Holiday Elder Care - Be an Elder Elf
Cindy Sproles
11/12/2017

Grateful for a Dream I Didn't Know I Had
Cindy Sproles
11/9/2017

Keep Them Reading
Cindy Sproles
11/1/2017

Chicken Soup for the Soul - Writer Call Out
Cindy Sproles
10/27/2017

Five Ways to Assure Your Work will Find the Slush Pile
Cindy Sproles
10/24/2017

23rd Psalm Revisited
Cindy Sproles
10/21/2017

Contentment in Writing
Cindy Sproles
10/19/2017

5 Common Sense Tips to Better Writing
Cindy Sproles
10/10/2017

Overshadowed
Cindy Sproles
8/21/2017

Chicken Soup for the Soul Callout - Stories about Love
Cindy Sproles
8/21/2017

Five Keys to Overcoming Rejection
Cindy Sproles
8/12/2017

Writing Call Out - Chicken Soup for the Soul
Cindy Sproles
8/10/2017

When Words of Encouragement Wane
Cindy Sproles
6/28/2017

Writing Truth with Love
Cindy Sproles
1/13/2017

Oh To Be A Writer
Cindy Sproles
1/4/2017

Why Write?
Cindy Sproles
1/1/2017

Scammed
Cindy Sproles
6/21/2016

The Pain of Unsolicited
Cindy Sproles
3/9/2016

Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage
Cindy Sproles
11/21/2015

Thankful Despite . . .
Cindy Sproles
11/20/2015

Stepping Up to Na-No-Wri-Mo
Cindy Sproles
11/16/2015

The Gift of No Gifts
Cindy Sproles
11/2/2015

Writers Be Encouraged
Cindy Sproles
10/15/2015

Keep ‘Em Reading – It’s the Writer’s Responsibility
Cindy Sproles
8/13/2015

Saying Goodbye
Cindy Sproles
7/17/2015

Overcoming the Fear of Writing Failure
Cindy Sproles
7/8/2015

Making the Move – Home to Assisted Living
Cindy Sproles
6/17/2015

I Kid You Not
Cindy Sproles
6/6/2015

Hearing the Call to Foster – Renee McCausey
Cindy Sproles
1/13/2015

Throw Out the Crutches
Cindy Sproles
1/10/2015

So You Were Asked to Be A Beta Reader?
Cindy Sproles
1/10/2015

REJECTIONS – Aaughhh!
Cindy Sproles
1/5/2015

The Bachelor – Stephanie Reed
Cindy Sproles
12/14/2014

The Making of a Servant
Cindy Sproles
11/30/2014

Miracle in a Dry Season Review – Yvonne Lehman
Cindy Sproles
8/27/2014

Write Anyway
Cindy Sproles
8/26/2014

World Blog Tour – Catching Up with Cindy Sproles
Cindy Sproles
7/22/2014

The Progression of Life
Cindy Sproles
7/17/2014

Instrumental Writing Helps – Aaron Gansky
Cindy Sproles
7/4/2014

The Question Saga
Cindy Sproles
6/29/2014

Defy the Night – REVIEW
Cindy Sproles
4/28/2014

When the Work is Hard to Do
Cindy Sproles
4/1/2014

My Heart Belongs to Him
Cindy Sproles
2/14/2014

Review of The Vicar’s Wife
Cindy Sproles
2/2/2014

The In on Self Publishing – Part 2
Cindy Sproles
12/29/2013

The In on Self Publishing – Part 1
Cindy Sproles
12/26/2013

In a Pickle
Cindy Sproles
10/1/2013

Bigger and Better
Cindy Sproles
9/27/2013

Putting SOCIAL back in Media
Cindy Sproles
8/10/2013

After the Conference Ends…
Cindy Sproles
8/8/2013

Here a Tweak, There a Tweak, Everywhere a Tweak, Tweak
Cindy Sproles
8/2/2013

Can You Hear Me Now?
Cindy Sproles
7/23/2013

Golden Years, Cherished Moments
Cindy Sproles
3/20/2013

Broken Heart Syndrome
Cindy Sproles
9/26/2012

What About Our Elders
Cindy Sproles
8/24/2012

A Minute – A Lifetime
Cindy Sproles
8/10/2012

Water, Water – Who’s Got the Water
Cindy Sproles
7/31/2012