The Golden Rules
- If you lift it straight from life, it needs to go into an autobiography, a biography, or another non-fiction book. Fiction is fictional. Don't let your imagination rust up by copying and pasting the lives of your nearest and dearest into your novels.
- If you ignore '1' your friends and family will never speak to you again.
- You CAN lift the EMOTION out of your life, but a better way to do it is to start with the fictional world you are constructing and, from within the character's psychological mindset, sink into those experiences you have had that resonate with the character's own.
- This will hurt (if the emotions are painful).
- Make sure the pain you're feeling is the character's and not your own. If it is your own, leave the room and have a piece of cake. Have a whole cake if you need to. Literature is more important than your waistline. The pen is mightier than the pin-up, and so on, and so forth. This is important stuff.
- Take time away from the scene.
- Go back to it when you can read it in a readerly, rather than writerly way. If, when you read it as a reader, you still cry for the character, you've got it right. If you cry for yourself, get therapy. Whatever the problem, it's not worth ruining a book over it.
- You can graph the plot and emotional arcs if you desperately want to, but an easier way to test them is just to read your book. Give it time to cool. Then read.
Any other tips you can share, word nerds? Leave them in the comments section.