Saturday, November 10, 2007

Moving your readers

I felt for some time that I could not really convey feelings. I left them out, and my readers were quick to aks, “and how did that make you feel?” Then I started saying how I had felt (or how my character had felt). But I made a new discovery recently. Deepest feeling can be conveyed with details. I just finished reading Three Dog Life, a memoir about a woman coming to terms with her husband’s severe brain damage from an accident. Evocative details of her life told the whole story and moved me to tears several times. Never did she say, “I was sad.” She must have decided to tell us how she felt, but not to say, ‘I felt sad.” She could tell us in what she did, how long she sat staring into her dog’s eyes, how many daytime naps she took.