1. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    Experiencing emotional responses to own writings

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Bjørnar Munkerud, May 28, 2014.

    Generally I'm not the kind of guy who cries a lot, but it's not beyond me to cry if I for whatever reason experience something very sad or personal. But that's not what this post is about. To my my pramarity characteristics is that I'm a massive nerd/geek/fanboy of various franchises and also intensely nostalgic, so in addition to loved ones dying, the only things that can make me cry are thinking about the past and watching fiction or thinking about fictional characters.

    This is all fine, but recently, most notably just prior to writing this, I wrote a very emotional scene for the novel I'm currently working on. The thing is, I shed a couple of tears during this. It's never been this noticeable or intense before, from what I can remember, but I recall having felt genuinely sad on behalf of some of my characters when thinking about their sacrifices, unluck or loss of loved ones.

    Is this good or bad? Does it somehow suggest that I'm a complacent bastard who's so cocky, arrogant and grand he's emotionally moved by his own stories, plots and characters. Or does it merely imply that I'm good at putting myself in other's shoes, that I'm sympathetic and empathic and that I'm capable of writing truly realistic and heartwarming/-breaking stuff? Am I the only one who does this? I'd appreciate your input.
     
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  2. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is neither good nor bad in of itself. If what you wrote moved you, it is good in the sense that you care enough to be moved. However, that is no indicator of how good your writing is, or how well it will move others. It can only be bad if it affects you to the point that you find writing painful.
     
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  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I've cried when I wrote one of my scenes. I don't think it's weird. You spend a lot of time with your characters, and (especially if you're not a planner) you don't know exactly what will happen to your characters.

    Nothing to worry about. :)
     
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  4. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    If you are so distanced from your writing as to never be emotional over it, I wonder how good it would truly be?

    I wrote a pivotal scene in my first novel where the MC comes face to face with the bad memory that has been subconsciously ruining his life. I placed myself in the MC's skin and wrote the scene as I (1) would want it to happen to me, and (2) my own very likely personal physical and emotional reactions to what unfolded. It's a tearfully bittersweet scene, and I wept as I wrote it. I'm not the least bit embarrassed to say I did. I can only hope it has the same effect on the reader.

    I don't see it as any different from writing a particularly good scene or string of dialogue and following it up with a fist pump and saying out loud, "YES! Perfect! I'm freaking awesome!!" I've also done this, but am a bit embarrassed to admit it. ;)

    Maybe it's different if you're writing dry, historical novels or dark and serious work but I think we need to really be free with our emotions to write WELL.
     
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  5. Larissa Redeker
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    Larissa Redeker Active Member

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    I think it's good. You aren't a machine writing a plain text, or are?

    I'm a "hidden" emotional person (my mom told me when I was young that is bad to cry due to a movie or laugh a lot, and I growed up believing that she was correct), but I become emotional even when I only think about a scene. So I know that going in the right direction. If I can make myself to cry, that is a hard thing, I'm making a good scene :) But I'm always go back to that scene some days after to see if the emotional response will be the same, and if it's really good. And I never say that it's perfect to myself. That's the good and the bad side of being too perfectionist :)
     
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  6. Yellowcake
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    Yellowcake New Member

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    Yeah I must admit to doing it too... a scene where my MC's is a little girl (who character and personality is based heavily on my own daughter) is sitting alone and scared waiting for her big brother to come home.

    I guess its because she is based on my daughter I ended up being caught up in the emotion of it. For me it became a very real response, (to others that scene may be a pile of crap?) but to me it became real. I guess the only problem I had was that I was writing while sitting on a crowded commuter train. ah well ... ya get that.
     
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  7. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think there's anything wrong with being moved by your own writing.

    I've never cried over any scene I've written, but that's probably mostly because I was brought up in a "boys don't cry" -culture, so nowadays, even if I want to, I can't cry. Sometimes I've even wished I could, but the tears won't come unless it's some truly life-changing disaster, like a loved one dying.

    However, I do feel the emotions. I feel the sadness of melancholy/tragic scenes, I feel the fear and panic in violent/horror scenes, I feel... well, what you feel with sex scenes etc. I think that's very important because if your story doesn't make the reader feel anything... what's the point of reading? You might as well read a phone book or an instruction manual.

    In my opinion, that is. To me, the intensity of the emotional charge a scene gives you is one of the most important ways to gauge its effectiveness: the more effective the scene, the more intense the experience of reading it.

    If you feel the emotions you wanted to convey while reading your own writing, there's a good chance the readers will feel them too. At least if you don't, you can be pretty sure the reader won't either.
     
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  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    In my very first novel attempt, my mc died a slow and painful death. I didn't describe the death itself, just the reaction of her son. I knew it was going to be emotional for me, so I waited until everyone else was out of the house before I wrote it. Of course I cried.

    I don't see anything wrong with it.
     
  9. Awesome101
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    Awesome101 New Member

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    I personally think that's a good thing. You were able to feel that empathy for a character that readers look for when they pick up a book! I take that back it's a great thing as a matter of fact.

    The only crying I've done while writing was for my journal and it was all non-fiction. My hope is to reach your level of emotional investment OP.
     
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  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, i've been emotionally moved when reading over some of my own writings...
     
  11. Yellowcake
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    Yellowcake New Member

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    I've also read some of my own writing and felt that rather than an emotion movement it was a movement of the bowels... and that made me cry too.
     
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  12. Want2Write
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    Want2Write Member

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    Yes, if 'Scared' is an Emotion. I am writing a horror story, and I am really really scared of Ghosts, and anything related to that. But the plot was appealing to me, so I started writing it, and was reading some articles based on supernatural discussions. While it was interesting to read with daylight, I get very scared at nights and yesterday I woke up at 3am fearing that my interest in ghosts will make them appear in front of me. Every night I decide to just shut down this project and move on with some light-hearted ones, but after dawn I sit in front of my computer and resume my research! I don't know what's going to be the end of this. Will the book see the daylight, [even if its self published for free over internet forums] or would be shelved forever due to my this fear!
     
  13. bobbi
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    bobbi New Member

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    I've cried. I hope it's because I'm such a damn fine writer. lol...
     
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