This is a repost from two years ago. As I dug into the motivation of one of my characters last weekend, I encountered Cami Tang’s post on Seekerville regarding deep point of view, and somehow it seemed appropriate to revisit my thoughts.
A couple years ago I wrote about recognizing the need to ‘go deep’ in my writing, to extract words that are uniquely my own, and I reinforced my conviction that nothing significant comes from the superficial. I had read Toni McGee Causey’s post on the Murderati blog where she prefaced her question about ‘Comfort Reading’ with three poignant pain-filled vignettes. And then she added, “Write…for her… for him… for us.” It was as if her words were aimed directly at me.
I’ve been brooding over her request. There is a cliché about facing one’s demons. If I descend into that part of the abyss where empathy resides, if I stay in the depths long enough to write what will be significant, who will I be when I resurface?
About storytelling Toni says, “We need to connect. We need to both transport somewhere other than our own daily circumstances and to connect to others, to know that someone out there understands us. Understands our fears, our desires. We need to escape, without physically abandoning our family and friends. Stories do that. We need the hope, the connection, the dream.”
She’s right, but storytelling for that purpose involves risk. Writing despite the risk takes courage.
I don’t know if I have that kind of courage. Do you? Can you reach deep down within and touch painful places that allow you to bring a character’s rawness onto the page?
*Photographer: Salvatore Vuono