The secrets behind the practice of good writing: Tears and snotty noses

 In Jo-Anne Richard's blog, The secrets behind the practice of good writing, Tips for Writers

12-octoberTears streamed down her cheeks. She wept and wept, sobbing into her sodden tissue until it dissolved and she was left hiccupping…

It’s worth making the point again because I keep noticing instances of it. Emotion (like revenge) is best served cold. I’m not sure exactly why this is, but the more you lay on the emotion, to show how deep and heart-felt it is, the more we skip over it and think ho hum.

Underplay it and we will be greatly moved. If her eyes burn and her throat feels tight, if she simply struggles to breathe, we’ll feel more for her than if she weeps buckets. If the emotional one isn’t your perspective character, she could be seen ripping small pieces from her tissue, or rubbing her sleeve vigorously across her face. She could be red around the eyes.

There are any number of ways to show deep emotion. Restrain yourself and we’ll care a lot more.

***

My 2016 blogs will continue to try to uncover the secrets behind the practice of good writing.

Please join the discussion and if you have discovered something that has made a great difference to some aspect of your writing, please send it to me. I’ll share it on the blog and we can discuss it.

Each blog will deal with a secret that may have occurred to me through reading or mentoring other people’s work. Or they may  be lessons hard learnt through five of my own books. Many will be applicable to fiction and non-fiction, while some might refer to one or the other.  When you tackle a piece of writing, you always have a vision of the perfect work it will be. As you write, you become increasingly aware of how it falls short of the perfection you wish for it. Writing (and rewriting) is the process of trying to bring it as close as you possibly can to that vision. Here, I will try to share those little gems which should bring all our writing one step closer to the perfect piece of writing – one blog at a time. Some might tackle the process of writing or how to keep writing, while some will look at language, characterisation or story. Some might be more general, while others will be very specific. But each will be a piece of advice that I believe in and that I hope will help make us all into better writers.

Jo-Anne Richards
Jo-Anne Richards is an internationally published novelist with a PhD in Creative Writing from Wits University. Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken, was originally published by Headline Review in the UK, and has recently been rereleased as one of the prestigious Picador Africa Classics collection. She ran the Honours programme in Journalism & Media Studies at Wits University for fifteen years.
Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.