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.


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

    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.