You’ll remember I had my mini-freak-out session last week. If you read comments, you might also remember that I had some very good advice from writerly friends Kath, Thea, Quantum’s Eric, Grosvenor Square‘s Melissa, and Bruce from Wordswimmer. Bruce’s comments really resonated with me, including this remark:
You need to find the courage, I think, to face the emotional issues that your character is facing (or about to face) in these culminating scenes.
I thought on it for a while and realized I’d stalled the scene before having to kill off a beloved character. Hmm. As a psych major I’m surprised I didn’t see the truth before: I don’t want to walk into the dark hall where the boogeyman lives…and where he’ll succeed in bagging one of my precious creations.
I knew it was coming, of course, but that doesn’t seem to be making it any easier.
I turned to James Frey’s How to Write A Damn Good Novel, II for a little more insight.
It takes guts to be a writer…A writer can’t back away from what is strongly dramatic just because the fictional elements may offend someone or produce a lot of tension in the writer during the act of creation…Hitchcock did not pull back from having Janet Leigh hacked to death in the shower. If he had, what would have happened to Psycho? Stephen King never pulls back…if you want to make an emotional impact on your reader you must produce tragic situations…You can’t pull back. You can’t be timid if you aspire to be a damn good novelist.
The first step in overcoming timidity is to learn to realize when you’re guilty of it, and to immediately take corrective measures. Sometimes simply asking yourself whether you might be running away from conflict is enough to make yourself turn around and face whatever you were running away from.
Truth is, you need a full tank of writer’s fuel to write some scenes–especially the black ones, the ones that steal from your personal emotional stores, that make you actually tear up as you’re writing them. (Ironically these are also the ones that make you proudest in the end, filling that same mysterious tank.) Every day spent not writing, fretting consciously or not about dark scenes, is another day energy is lost by running from it. What an ugly cycle.
So, here I go.
I’ve turned around. I’m walking back. I’ve publicly called myself on my own timidity. I want to be a damned good writer. Hell, I am a damned good writer. I’m going into the dark hall. Alone.
Wish me luck.