Sunday, July 3, 2016

Getting Emotional in Writing

Yesterday I had a friend (who is also a fan!) tell me how much she loved my books except for one thing - they're too short! An avid reader, she went on to say how she got so caught up in my characters and the story that she couldn't put the book down and was disappointed when it ended.
Way back in a high school psychology class, I had to write a paper on the central nervous system versus the peripheral nervous system and used writing as an example of how to describe each. I use my brain, a part of the central nervous system, to create the work. When I re-read and edit, I use my peripheral nervous system since my hands sweat, my heart beats faster, and my body twitches in response to what I have read. This allows me to build a scene as though I am the character I've written and make the story more real to my readers.
As a writer, I also get caught up in the emotions of my scenes and characters. My palms would sweat when I wrote about Lucy and her ex-husband's relationship in The Mystery Lady as well about Katie's life with Maddox in The Bookstore Lady:

She’d never awakened in a motel room alone and naked before. Someone had always taken her home. Usually Maddox. She pushed that thought out of her head and splashed water on her face. In the mirror, her skin seemed almost green in the bad lighting. Someone had beaten her, probably Maddox, judging from the bruise on her cheek and the cut on her lower lip. Probably from the diamond he wore on his pinky.
Beside the toilet, bright blue fabric speckled with purple spots along the hem hung over the shower rod. Her favorite dress. The one she wore yesterday. At least she thought it was yesterday. She fingered the spots and fought off a wave of dizziness.
Blood stains. Whose blood?
 

In The Mystery Lady, Lucy becomes paranoid when she spots a car parked on her street for several days then strange men in her neighbourhood. Her concern for the well-being of she and her children actually left me a bit on edge and I found myself peering out the window a few times as well!
 Roger always said she’d make a good writer because she was such a drama queen, but maybe she was a drama queen because she was a writer. In truth, her mood was more about Roger and her deep down reluctance to let her kids go with him for the week. Normally, she’d probably have a hard time staying mad at someone like Clancy.
“Look, sweetheart.” He chuckled. “You go back to whatever it is you do all day and have fun with your kids. I’ll pad my tools with bubble wrap so you can relax.”
 “You are such a jerk.” She snapped.
“That’s quite an observation considering you just met me. Maybe you should give me a chance to actually be a jerk before you accuse me of such a heinous crime.” He toyed with a wrench.
Fondled? Stroked? Darn her writer’s brain. What was wrong with her? Lucy blew out a frustrated breath then rolled her eyes and stomped away. “Men.”

 

One of my favourite characters in the Wild Blue Mysteries series is Leo Blue. I find it easy to put myself in his place to see what he sees and think what he thinks. Leo looks at life a little differently than most, which makes him a lot of fun to write and  great foil for Danny since he will say and do pretty much whatever he wants.
The scenes with Leo and Christina in The Bakery Lady were some of my favourite (and steamiest!) to write. I allowed my emotions to run wild and tried to take inventory as I wrote to capture the moment as realistically as I could. In fact, one of the best ways for me to develop a scene, is to write a rough draft then go back and "feel" the emotions and "live" the scene in my head. Here's one example:

Leo clenched his hands at his sides to keep from reaching out to push back the damp hairs off her neck for a better view of the butterfly. “You’re right, she is cute. And funny.”
She spun around and knocked a steel bowl full of cookie cutters off the counter. The bowl clanged on the painted concrete floor and rolled toward the oven while the cookie cutters clattered to the white tile floor. Her freckled elfin face was dusted with flour, some of which rose off her lips as she huffed. When she glared at Clancy, her eyes reminded Leo of the slate gray-green Himalayan Mountains at sunset. Her red lips shone like the juicy flesh of a watermelon. He’d forgotten how much he liked watermelon.
 

 I find that the more I write, the more emotional my writing becomes as I become more connected to my characters and learn more about them. Currently, I am working on a new book in the series, The Painted Lady, which should be ready for release in 2017.

 All three of my Wild Blue Mysteries are available through Amazon & Books We Love as well as at Coles/Chapters/Indigo in Canada by special order!
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