In Memoir class, I often mention “cracking open” an incident or event. “Dig deeper,” I say. That’s where the gold is. Novel writers can crack open their character’s lives as well, deepening and sculpting a more memorable character for readers to sympathize with.
Writing Tip for Today: When you crack open a scene to get at the real story, it may be very painful, especially for memoirists who are their own protagonist. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Cracking it open means getting at the truth, not necessarily writing every gory detail.
- You’ll face yourself in a way you may never have before. Be prepared to forgive yourself or your loved ones.
- If a traumatic scene is one in which you or the character endured a long wait, the key is to give the reader a feeling of waiting without actually making the reader wait. Same holds true for scenes in which a character is bored. Give the feeling of boredom, but don’t make your reader bored.
- Cracking it open may require several drafts to get at the truth.
- Bleeding on the page takes courage. Yet when you “crack it open,” you’ll be likely to produce honest, authentic writing, which readers love.
Tomorrow! Look for The Bookshelf Muse blogger Becca writing about how she and her blogging partner Angela, came up with the Emotion Thesaurus. Don’t miss it!