Note: I pounded out the following last night after a glass and a half of wine and in the middle of a writing frenzy, all while being distractingly nosed by my cat. I tried to edit it for coherency.
This interview with Ira Glass, of NPR’s This American Life, contains some pretty excellent advice about creating emotional resonance that I’m sure most readers of this journal can relate to. It’s a lesson he learned back in the day from Marti Noxon, and that is to always take time to answer the question, ”What does Buffy feel?” This is the essence of every great episode of that show, and all of the cool action and witty lines were empty and soulless without it (well, okay, for me in the last few seasons it was the dual question, ”What does Spike feel, and what does Buffy feel about Spike?” Because that’s the kind of obsessive, single-minded shipper I was (well, okay: am)).
Of course, in fiction that is not about Buffy (or Spike), ”Buffy” is just a stand-in for your main character, or your narrator—whomever is the most affected By what’s happening. Reading this, I realized that I subconsciously try to answer this question in every chapter. Maybe this is just an instinct born from all of those hours watching the series (not to mention all those hours writing fan-fiction that was specifically about Buffy’s feelings). But if there’s one thing that’s safe to say about my own writing, it’s that my characters FEEL. And because of that, I feel for them, maybe a little more intensely than I should. Hopefully, my readers will, too.
…I think I had more of a specific point when I started this, but I didn’t seem to get to it, and I’ll be darned if I can remember what that point was. So let’s just each infer our own, shall we? Yes, let’s. Or, you could just go read the article. You should! It’s good.
In other news, I just installed yWriter, and it looks like it just might do the job of saving my sanity (my sanity tends to need a lot of saving; I should probably talk to someone about that) as I rework my manuscript into a second draft. I’ll try to post a review after I’ve gotten to know it better.