It’s not the words…it’s the moments.
One of the things that has been doubly cemented for me this week is that in story and in life it doesn’t really matter what your words are, or what your actions are, if you’re unwilling to stick with your reader (and your life) through the moments.
There are a lot of ways you could describe the moment someone meets their true love, or the moment they choose to kill. There are a lot of ways to say you (or your character) are happy, sad, scared, or any other emotion; but none of those words, ways, or styles really works if you’re not willing to put yourself (and your character) in the moment.
In real life it doesn’t matter if I say ‘I love you’ to my wife; what matters is that she feels loved. (Ok, yes I need to say the words, but if I say the words and she doesn’t feel loved then just saying the words doesn’t work…)
This is what hooks us, the moments of emotion; the moments of success, failure, fear and fun.
What are the moments you remember in your own life? I’d be willing to bet they’re the significant moments; the highly charged moments. We don’t really remember the lukewarm times. We don’t really remember the boring and plain (unless it is so boring and plain that it causes us discomfort and then we remember the discomfort).
In writing and in life, if we want something remembered (or read) then we need to create those moments. That is the hard part.
We remember the moments because they are intense.
This is where it gets hard as a writer (or any living person); because, to succeed in what we’re writing and doing we have to put ourselves into those moments. If we want to write that moment, the moment that the reader wants to look away but can’t, we have to put ourselves into the moment first.
No we don’t literally have to try to kill ourselves. But, if we want to write about a character who’s about to commit suicide we have to be in that moment with the character in our minds and on our keyboards.
It we want happy we have to create happy, and be in that moment. If we want scary we have to create scary, and be in that moment. And then, we have to expose that movement to someone else.
As writers we usually share what we’ve written (sometimes we wish people would pay us for stuff we wont write, but that doesn’t usually work). Even non-writers aren’t immune, if you want to share a moment with someone else (If you want to say I love you and have your wife/husband/child/whatever believe you) you have to expose part of yourself. Sometimes this means you have to share something you didn’t want to experience in the first place.
I can’t tell you how to do it. I can’t live your life for you, or write your story (I have enough trouble on my own!). But, I can tell you that if you want people to read/remember/live it, if you want someone to remember your moments, you have to be there for those moments yourself. You have to experience those movements yourself, at least in your mind.
This is a challenge, but it’s what you have to do to get through.
That’s it for today dear reader. Until next time…
Be in the moment (and be glad you’re not stuck there all the time!).