Thursday, February 14, 2013
Indulging in a little wallowing
It might be because of my own run-ins with depression, but I have trouble letting characters wallow in their misery. Writing scenes of despair... well, when you look at the darkness the darkness looks back. And despair knows me, that's for sure.
But. Pics or it didn't happen, as they say. Show, don't tell.
This tangentially ties in to the dark night of the soul, letting characters face your demons, and earning that win -- not all consequences are faced physically. Emotional consequences play out in the emotions first, and might manifest as actions as a result of that, whether it's drinking, getting into fights, or attempting suicide...
Your character might have some intuitive light-bulb moment while crying in bed. An angry guy might go out, get drunk, and pick a fight with just the right/wrong person... which could work or could seem too convenient, depending on the serendipity involved. How would you use your character's melancholy ruminations to keep the plot moving?
Writing the scene can be technically challenging too. Is the character just lying in bed, face in the pillow? If they're doing something, how do you work their emotions into the action? How's your stock of metaphors, and what will you do when you've used all your melancholy adjectives and now you need some more?
This is on my mind because of the revisions I'm making to Disciple, Part V. It felt very... lean in the writing; my gut said it needed more, but waffled over what that was. My betas have indicated that the "more" may be some wallowing. It doesn't sit easy, but my betas have never steered me wrong.