Episode 51: Writing Under the Influence of Emotional Exhaustion

In this episode:

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THIS IS HOW A REALLY BAD AGATHA CHRISTIE KNOCK OFF MURDER STARTS!
— Abby, stuck in a dark Macy's dressing room, sans pants

 

Abby deals with some S-H-I-T : emotional exhaustion! Power outages! Migraines! ER visits! Parents! Writing wedding vows, shopping for dresses, trips out of state and sick kids! Writing gets pushed aside sometimes when we're dealing with real life. This week Abby channels her emotional woes into her writing and uses it to write an epic car crash scene for her book. 

 

(One of the great things about Author Accelerator coaches is that they totally get that you have a real life and they're not going to give you a hard time when you've got to drop everything and deal with it. As parents, our families always come first!)

We talk all day long about show don’t tell - what that means is what you’re doing right here. We see Bernadette’s dad trying his very best, trying so hard to be a good dad, but he’s FROM THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. What we feel is the impossibility of this situation.
— Jennie Nash

 

Abby admits that she wrote this chapter twice - the first time around felt a little flat. When she went back and read it, she put the action in but not any thoughts or feelings that Bernadette is experiencing. She added in what would be happening to her emotionally, all these extra details, that really made the scene on the second go around. Learning to write better is about self awareness - there are NO RANDOM THINGS in writing. Everything has meaning, everything connects to the story, everything drives characters and plot and meaning. Make your events, your characters, make everything matter, and it's going to matter to your reader.

Or another way - it's like braiding hair, according to Jennie. You can put something in and the reader holds onto it, and when you bring that thread back into the braid/story, it's very satisfying to the reader to see that character or point or thread again. When you don't re-weave a storyline or a character back in the reader wonders what happened and what they're missing. 

Moms who write - what we have is a more active imagination than the average person. Our job as a writer is to imagine other people’s worlds, make things go wrong, make bad things happen for our characters. You can’t be a good writer and sit down, do that imaginative work, and then shut it off in the rest of your life. Writing is emotional work, too—it’s not just intellectual work.
— Jennie Nash