Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writing: Sunshine and shadow

One thing I have to remember is that you want a variety of emotion when you are writing  women's fiction. The intensity of the emotion matters but too much makse it samey. If everything is light, it can feel airy and insubstantive. Equally if everything is dark and brooding, you can end up very quickly being depressing. You are looking at the full palette of emotion and how it is portrayed rather than just one aspect.
The contrast can help to ring the changes. Think about shadows and how much darker they look against the bright sunshine. If a painting is monochrome, you lose that intensity. Show  the changes when you are writing, think about the contrasting emotions and how you can show the mood shifts. There are always gradation of moods.  You can't just protray anger in the same way all the time. The character becomes one dimensional and wooden. She always screams. He always clenches his jaw.  Equally your characters should not always be angry. They need to have moments when they lighten up. When they are amused or find a measure of peace. The opposite of anger is not always happiness. It can be peace, tranquility, contentment, acceptance or resignation.
When you want to show a passion at its height, it will show up most clearly when you contrast with its opposite. The conundrum for every novelist is how to portray its opposite in a convincing fashion.  How can you show both in a scene?  Hint: look within your characters, Find more than one inner value for the character. How can these two values be in opposition to each other? What will finally drive your characters that height? What is your character passionate about? Strong emotions require strong characters and they deserve to be shown in their complexity.
Do not be afraid to show the opposite of an emotion to increase whether the sunshine or the shadow. Make sure you understand the different variations of emotions and how the character will react. The inner value + conflict = emotion.  But to really make those emotions stand out, you need the contrast.

1 comment:

amymarie said...

I like your advice. I've been working on showing more character introspection and emotion and I think this helps!