Emotions and Purpose

Writing has a purpose and that purpose is to give the reader an emotional experience.  I have felt that since the first day I put the pen to paper.  At first, I have to admit, I felt that it wasn’t the greatest of feelings.  Almost like revulsion.  That was because I was still learning how to write.

It was an experience and an emotional one, but it was also when I was in elementary school and they were teaching us how to put sentences together.  It was much harder than it looked.  Over time, though, I learned grammar and how to put those words into paragraphs and then pages.  At that time, I really had no interest in writing.  It was too hard.  It made my head hurt.

While I was in High School I thought I wanted to write but every time I tried, I felt that revulsion slip in.  My fascination with the written word really came out after I had been in the US Air Force.  You see, I had to study hard to make rank because we had written tests.  After I had studied for more than a year on my own, I felt a void.  After I passed the test to make E-5, I was so used to reading that I found that I still needed something to read, so I went to the base exchange and bought a book of short stories.  After that, I was hooked.  I began to read incessantly.  Before I knew it, I had read over forty books in six months.  Of course, things happened and I didn’t have much time to read, but the next year, I read forty more.  That was when I got the idea to begin writing.

Fast forward seventeen years later.

I had been writing over the course of seventeen years and struggling like most of you out there.  I finally found my inspiration from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series so I wrote the very first draft of what would come to be Copper Rain.  Oh boy!  Yeah, it wasn’t that great.  It was disjointed and unstructured.  What it did have going for it was emotion.  For me writing it was an emotional rollercoaster.  I love rollercoasters.  I think that was what kept me writing ever since.

I have to admit this or this piece won’t work.  There have been times when I had to stop writing in mid-paragraph because my emotions got the best of me.  I had to take an emotion break, collect myself and my thoughts in order to continue.  It happened especially when a character had made a discovery or when something really bad happened or something really good happened.  That’s when I knew I had it right.  If I could create those emotions in myself, the one person who knows the story better than anyone else, then I could do it for my readers.

Not long ago, about three or four years ago, I picked up a book that explained how to structure a novel (it is mentioned on this website in another article) called The Snowflake Method. In it, it said that stories are supposed to provide an emotional experience.  Until I read it, I didn’t really think about it that way.  I always assumed that the story was just that, a story.  Now this book was telling me that it was an emotional journey and, if structured correctly, could take reader to new places and give them emotional experiences.  It made sense to me.  So I decided to take this book’s advice.  The results were astounding.

I found it easier to write the draft that I eventually published.  It may not be the next Harry Potter, but, for me, it was quite an accomplishment.  I had overcome my aversion to writing to actually publishing a full-fledged novel.  Mind you, this was over a twenty year period–from aversion to publishing–and there were many hurdles I had to jump, but much of that was just education.

What I want to say, dear reader, is that if you want to write well, make your writing an emotional experience.  Not only for you, but for your audience.  That way you will enjoy the writing journey and your readers the reading journey.

As always, thanks for reading and happy writing.

Lee

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