Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The jugular

I've been writing for years, and I have tackled some dark subjects. I find that my writing gets the strongest response when I write closest to the edge. I don't mean that the topic necessarily has to be edgy. I mean when the emotion in a scene is so honest that I've basically stopped protecting myself--from embarrassment, from pain, from whatever I fear. Ironically, to produce something that raw usually takes many rewrites. Even after all this time, I seldom go for the jugular in the first draft, or the second. I still hold back.

One reason I appreciate my critiquers is that they call me on this; they point out when I'm hiding. Self-protection is so automatic and so ingrained that I can't see my own defenses. Dropping defenses is not instinctive; it's counter-instinctive, really. It must be learned. And I find that it must be relearned with every project.

3 comments:

  1. It's hard enough to be totally honest in real life with close friends, let alone on the page for all to see. .

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    1. In some ways, emotional honesty can be easier for me to reach via the not-literally-true vehicle of fiction. I suppose it's one reason I like fiction.

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