Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Retreat Musings: Cry if you Want To

More things I thought about on retreat:

Our stories are supposed to make you laugh and cry, scare you and thrill you, change you, distract you, challenge you, take you into the dark forest and out the other side. So how come we don't talk more about how much of an emotional roller coaster ride it is to write like that?

In the last week, I:

---finished a paragraph, and ran laps around the house, arms Rocky-like above my head

--wanted to burn the entire manuscript, page by crappy page

--woke in the night to worry over a character

--laughed at my own words

--cried at a made-up situation that I made up!

This is probably why I don't write in public.


  1. It's My Story and I'll Cry If I Want To: Yeah, that IS why I don't write in public. That, and the fact that I'm too darned nosy to focus.

    D. says I look like I'm angry and SCOWL sometimes when I'm writing conflict scenes (it's also been described as "the constipated face" but I thought I'd save you from that), but I have to admit that I save my tearing up when nobody else is home.

    Writing is really physical. Liz Gallagher talked about that at The Tollbooth the last week in May. Somd good thoughts there.

  2. Heh, I just recently wrote a post in which I compared memoir-writing to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride:

    I do cry when I write. A lot. Thanks for reminding us that it's okay.


    Good for you.

  4. Can I just add that I LOVE the image of you doing Rocky-like arm-pumping around the house? I did that yesterday over a very nice, effusive email I got about my job, something I had done that pleased someone, just when I was reeeeeeally needing feedback on how I was doing. I was dancing around and praising deities I'm not even sure I believe in.

    I love that you did that over a paragraph. What's mind-blowing, too, is knowing how much work novelists put into a book, how much time it takes. Robin mentioned that at a post she wrote recently that I just read last night over at her site -- something like, I know it'll take you two hours to read, but I put yeeeears into this thing.

    That amazes me about writers. (In a good way, not a they're-crazy way.)

  5. Yay, Sara! And I understand exactly how you feel.

  6. You're so awesome. It is a solitary profession for so many good reasons, isn't it? :)

  7. Oh good - I'm not the only one ;)

  8. Yes! You describe it so well.

  9. Sara,

    This is a belated response to your question about books in verse. I've read a couple of YA books written in verse, in the past year or so, and they really both surprised me. I enjoyed them! What a shock! One of the two books was Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. I read it just prior to beginning my blog, unfortunately, but I remember it as deeply moving. Plus, I love a book that teaches me something; and, I also recall thinking it was a good glimpse into life during the Dust Bowl Days.

    So, I'd say regardless of style, the most important characteristic of a book written in verse is simply a solid storyline. Which, of course, is always true.


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