Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy to Cry

Sunday, I was over at my pal Sally's house and we were doing our tandem-writing thing on her screened-in porch. I needed to write a particular scene in which my favorite character discovers the body of one of her grown children. I couldn't bring myself to do it, at first. I got up out of my chair and paced around. Sat back down, still couldn't write it. Walked around some more, feeling awful for her. I just felt so bad for her, probably in large part because I have a grown son of my own. I felt as if the longer I put it off, the longer she could go without knowing it. Finally, I confessed to Sally what was going on, and I burst into tears! Can you believe that, over a fictional character?! I've only cried over a character once before (over Ray Raintree in The Whole Truth), and I have to tell you that strictly from a writer's point of view, it is sweet sorrow.

Join me in the comments for coffee or tea?

20 comments:

Nancy P said...

This heyah is Tuesday's comment section. See you when it's uh, Tuesday.

xxoo

FARfetched said...

I'm going to slip in under the Monday gun. :-)

I've had similar experiences… I just don't want to write that particular scene, it's too emotional. But don't those often turn out to be some of the best writing?

jasonscs said...

Wow. If you care that much about the character... I can't WAIT to read this book.

AndiF said...

As a reader, I can handle you killing off all the people you want and be dry-eyed but kill a dog, cat, or horse and I become a flash flood zone.

Morning everybody.

Maria Lima said...

Wow, Nancy, that's some pretty powerful stuff.

I can definitely understand the emotion. My characters tend to take on a life of their own.

Tuesday, yep and July 1 - really, how did it get to be July? Time is totally slipping away from me.

Off to the salt mines.

Happy Tuesday, all!

Family Man said...

Good morning Nancy and everyone.

Nancy I think becoming so emotionally involved in a character is a sign of a good writer. Just like a character actor who becomes so involved, I think some of the best acting and/or writing is done during these times.

Hope everyone is having a good day.

Beth said...

Morning, everyone! Ditto, andi. If anyone kills an animal in a book or movie, they lose me - even tho I know sometimes you have to. I understand writing hard scenes, and send a big hug, Nancy. At least you had Sally there to do the same!

Hoping to find balance in my day today - at least I started it off right!

Happy July! Can you believe it?

Beth said...

PS - I keep forgetting to tell you. I received this from a writer in Chicago on Saturday, and thought the timing was interesting...guess they forgot to invite OUR resident Elizabeths (even if they're not official)!

Today is the Gathering of Elizabeths in Elizabeth, Illinois. Anyone with a first or middle name of Elizabeth can register. Queen Elizabeth was invited (seriously) but graciously declined.

The event organizer is expecting around 500 Elizabeths, all in town with their families. That probably doesn't sound like much to you
Chicago folks, but it's a major crowd for our little town.

Kelly McCullough said...

Howdy all,

Just a quick wave as I run around getting the house ready for mum-in-law's visit. It's not the horrible things happening scenes that get me to tear up when I'm writing, it's the willing sacrifice moments, but I suspect that's at least partially a function of the different structure of the two genres.

Nancy P said...

Far, I think they absolutely do turn out to be some of the best.

You feeling okay today? Did sitting in the sunshine cure ya?

Nancy P said...

Hi, Jason. That's how I feel about moments like that--if they affect me deeply, maybe they will similarly affect a reader. It's also deeply satisfying in the sense that after I've felt that, it matters less to me what reviewers or even readers may think of it. It's Just All Right With Me.

Nancy P said...

Beth, I laugh! What if I'd shown up and said, "My name is Nancy, but you can call me Elizabeth." And you could have shown up and said, "Okay, so they didn't actually name me Elizabeth, but Beth is close enough, right?"

Hey, Maria and FM!

Andi, just so you'll know, in this new book, it will *look* as if two dogs might be harmed, but fear not!!

Nancy P said...

Hey, Kelly, that's really interesting. I can see that! It's something I had never thought about before, and I think you're probably on to something in regard to the difference between our genres.

Speaking of grown sons (I was, on the front page), mine just came by and took me out to breakfast.

::BEAM::

FARfetched said...

Hey all!

I'm at work today, so I'm feeling good enough to do that much (and thanks again for the concern & well-wishes). Here's hoping I'm completely better by Friday morning…

Did you have a good breakfast then? Sounds like you were pretty happy about it!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Yes, I agree that if YOU care about the character, WE'LL care about the character. Great that you have those emotional upheavals in your writing!

I've had the experience of having a character "pop-into" a book while writing--just because of my emotional reaction. Frustrating, but true.

Nancy P said...

Hi, conda!

Far, it was a very nice bfast with my boy, thanks. He has had lots going on, much of it amusing. He was an usher in a wedding this past weekend. He said the bride and groom didn't get to eat during the reception, so afterwards they ate Domino's pizza in their room. :) Pizza, tuxedo, and bridal gown.

Kimberly Frost said...

Nancy -

I can't wait to read it!

And yes scenes get to me, too. I was tandem writing at a coffee shop on Sunday with a friend and had tears filling my eyes. Dabbing them with a Java Dave's napkin, I pressed on. I was discreet, but my pal still noticed, fully amused I'm sure.

Then I got home and started watching a "dollar movie" that I'd bought at Half-Price Books for a buck. It was Romancing the Stone with Kathleen Turner. In the beginning Turner's character, a romance novelist, finishes her melodramatic climax scene and is openly weeping. She's says with satisfaction, "God, that's good."

As the movie makers intended, I laughed out loud at her. Then I realized that at least she had the sense to write that scene at home with only her cat for a witness.

boran2 said...

Wow, such a strong connection to your character. But that must make the book so much more enjoyable for readers.

Nancy P said...

lol, Kim! But where's our Michael Douglas??

Hi, B2! I love your new painting and how it's progressing.

Anonymous said...

That sounds really intense with strong emotional components in the book. Hurray! I love books that draw me in via feelings. It makes me feel more involved in the book. The downside is that it makes me feel more emotionally involved in the book. If that makes any sense.
:-/
I'm really looking forward to this book. First, the intriguing title and now this! Did I ever tell you that patience is not one of my virtues? No pressure. (tick, tick, tick...) lol