Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Gonna Cry?

I don't cry a lot.  About real life, anyway.  I'm a fixer, a trouble-shooter, in my professional and personal life.  When things happen, I try to fix it, if I can't...then I accept it and move on.  Maybe it comes from being the youngest of six and everyone just expecting me to use tears to get my way.  I never did.  But I could sure lay out a good argument and convince you that giving me what I wanted was the right thing to do. 

My husband can cry on demand.  I mean actually command tears on a whim.  It's a trick that he has always been able to do and I'm pretty sure got him out of some tight situations as a child.  It disturbs and fascinates me. 

When it comes to a sad book, or a movie, or hell...a sad commercial, I cry at the drop of a hat.  But trying to evoke that emotion in writing is not easy and something I struggle with.  When I write a sad scene, I try to envision a sad time in my life so my writing comes from a real place, and the same goes for a lot of the emotions in my manuscripts.  Even if the situations are not similar, the emotions are. 

How do you handle this?  Is there something I'm missing?  When you write a sad scene, do you try to recall a sad time so your writing is more authentic?  


  1. That is so funny about your husband…my brother can do that and it makes me so mad…even as an adult.

    Don’t cry much in real life situations either. I cry more for other people, when I write about others I think I do a better job of evoking emotions. Since I write a lot about my experiences I am afraid sometimes that I don’ make myself a very sympathetic character…maybe I’m just not?

  2. I'm like you. I'll cry watching movies and Oprah, but I hardly ever cry in real-life situations. I'm not sure why. Maybe that's a state of vulnerability I'm just not willing to let myself get to. I grew up with a mean big brother and crying only infuriated him more... I learned early to hold it all in. (He's not mean anymore.)

  3. I'm not much of a cryer anymore but I've had my days! I think it's a good thing. It means you're sensitive and in touch with your emotions.

  4. For me, writing a sad scene is the same as writing any other kind of scene: I have to get into a state of mind where I'm in the character's shoes. I try to imagine that what has happened to the character has happened to me. So if the character's father mysteriously disappears, I try to imagine how I would feel if one day I woke up and my dad was gone. As a sympathetic person, I find this works very well.

  5. It helps if you've suffered terrible losses in your life. Most people don't have that. I do, so I make my crit partners cry when I write sad. Luckily, I rarely write sad scenes, though, because it makes me cry. And I hate to cry. I'd rather laugh.

  6. When I write a sad scene, I don't try to recall it, it just sort of happens. I like the idea that writing a novel is all about self reflection. We can think we're making new stuff up, but we're really just processing what we've experienced. It doesn't necessarily have to be about us. Sometimes just hearing strangers argue can give me enough oomph for a fight scene. I would say don't force it because then you try to consciously choose the memories. If you let it happen naturally, you'll be surprised by what does come up--things you didn't know bothered you, or things you thought you were over.

  7. I'm with Amanda, I have to put myself intot he story. See everything throught the character's eyes. That is where all of my emotion comes from.

    Oh, and crying on demand, yeah, that's a hard one.


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.