Hiding Emotion

by Ronie Kendig from Double Crit editing service

Joan stared at the device. A bomb. She’d expect no less of those who’d come after her. Would motion set it off? Afraid to move, she prayed.

From nowhere, Joshua appeared. He rushed toward the explosive. “I’ll handle this.” He defused the bomb before she could answer.

Enjoyable? Fulfilling? I think not. Too often we write deus ex machina into our story—God from a machine (a concept derived from Greek tragedies)—where a hero/god swoops in and saves the day. Maybe that’s our way of trying to protect our character. Have you ever done that? Become so immersed in your story, that an idea pops into your head. And you think, “Oh, that would be very bad. I can’t let that happen.”

How do you respond? Do you let the “very bad” thing happen? Or do you pad protective clutter around your character and story, stifling what could very well be a powerful, emotional experience? I say, LET GO! Let your character experience pain. Allow the villain or circumstance to rip your hero/heroine’s life apart. Isn’t that what often happens in our lives? How many times have you heard friends or loved ones ask how God could allow something to happen? Pain exists. We aren’t protected (not completely) from it. Don’t let your characters hide behind your shields. Sure, you might feel the pain vicariously. But then, so will your reader.

Too often, we let superficial wounds carry the story and conflict. I mean, if it’s superficial, then I’d say it’s a boo-boo, not a wound. Wouldn’t you? Your characters (like us) are resilient. They’ll bounce back (after all, you control the ending…to some degree). Without those wounds, they can’t grow and develop. Who wants one-dimensional characters? So dig deep. Write deep. WOUND DEEP.

Double Crit is a unique freelance editing service that offers high-level critiques of fiction book proposals and manuscripts from two experienced editors. Whether you’re preparing for a conference or getting ready to submit your manuscript to editors or agents, we can help.