Sunday, October 21, 2012

Give Feelings a Chance to Act

 I read somewhere to give life to abstractions by substituting concrete images that suggest the feeling. I've decided to put that advice into practice with every other chapter. The newest one I wrote in revising Chapter One again is about Hada. Instead of saying she felt guilty, I wrote:

Guilt pinched at her heart and then hid somewhere, maybe in her bones.

It takes a while to think of feelings taking action, but it's fun and avoids overused words.


  1. Yes, it does take that extra work. Another way to concretize the feelings in a scene are to make sure all the word choices go toward the mood. I overdid this many years ago when I started writing a thriller that involved an oil tanker. In the opening scene I overdid the oil references, but it had the desired effect of setting the tone/mood as well as clues that would help lead the reader to the bad guy. (E.g. the hero's "slicked hair" and the "coffee thick as crude oil")

    In your example, I like the guilt hiding somewhere, maybe in her bones. I especially like the ambiguity of where it's hidden.

  2. Yes, Peter, good point to be sure the word choices go with the mood or that they reflect the setting or plot. Your examples are right on. Thanks.

    Sorry I'll miss your talk on Saturday. We will be in Petaluma.

  3. High, girl!
    Wouldn’t ya love an endless eternity of aplomBombs
    falling on thy indelible, magnificent cranium?
    An XtraXcitinXpose with no
    with an IQ much higher than K2,
    and an extraordinarily, sawcy, rowdy victory??
    Here’s what the prolific GODy sed:

    “Faith, hope, and love,
    the greatest of these is love -
    jump into faith...
    and you'll see with love”
    Doesn’t matter if you don’t believe
    (what I write);
    God believes in you.
    God. Blessa. Youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL
    Meet me Upstairs, girl, where the Son never goes down…