June 11, 2012

A Writer's Life - Cry just a little bit

If you've never ended up breaking out in laughter or sobbing uncontrollably while writing a book ... well, then you're doing it wrong. Chances are the reader will not laugh either ... and neither will they spill a tear. Just like Robert Frost said, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." He didn't emphasis laughter, but trust me, it is of equal importance.

Copyright by Nosheen Abbas

Make them laugh, make them cry, make them feel. But first, you need to go through these emotions yourself. And this is exactly were things get a little weird sometimes.

While it is relatively safe to indulge in some method-writing techniques by getting all emotional working on your book at home (after all, your family should be used to those outbursts by now) it can be a bit awkward when you're plotting in your mind and suddenly burst out in hysteric chuckles during mass. God will understand. The rest of the congregation probably not.

Yes, I've been there myself. Not in mass though. Yet there were several occasions when I was out and about with my mind innocently plotting away until a lunatic grin formed on my face while sitting on the train. Luckily no one will approach you when you look like the Joker (minus the make-up, but still). Once I had an old lady ask me whether I'd be ok. Obviously I looked a bit suicidal as I was going through a rather dreadful and emotionally loaded scene. I was tempted to tell her that this was just my writer's face, but that probably sounds as if there really is something wrong with me, so I resorted to saying that everything was fine. Of course I could have channeled my Joker face at that exact moment, but being responsible for giving an old lady a heart attack? I don't think so.

So, next time you see someone let out an unexpected guffaw while waiting for the elevator, this person might not be crazy. This person might be a writer! Just sayin'.

All you writers out there. I want to hear about how you experience emotions while writing! And how about plotting when you're outside the safety of your home? Ever made bystanders cast you funny looks when you started to giggle for no apparent reason? Inquiring minds want to know!

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