Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Indescribable" and Why it Cannot Work for a Writer

Ever hear someone say, "I don't know how to describe it!"? As writers, we are duty bound to describe everything. It comes with the territory. So I discuss feelings today and how we might describe them with our words.

Angry - Having a strong feeling of or showing annoyance, displeasure, or hostility; full of anger.

Okay, there's the definition. What about the feeling itself? How does it affect your body, mind, and thought process? That is what a writer must describe. Forget the damned definition for a minute and think of something that makes you angry. Dwell on it and let it consume you for a few minutes. Now, close your eyes, put your fingers on your keyboard, and describe that feeling.

My attempt (I will use a time I was betrayed by someone I considered a friend in school):

I want to rip her head off her shoulders. If I thought I could physically do that, I swear I would. My heart is racing, my stomach feels like it's on fire, everything in my vision is blurry. I am shaking from head to toe and I am scared I will not be able to control this beast if I let it out of its cage. My hands want to connect with something while balled into fists. My throat is tight and I want to scream horrible things at her. I want to ruin her life so she can feel the same way that I do right now. I would tear her hair, punch her face, and call her every name I think she deserves (which is many).

Now, you can tell someone exactly what betrayal of a friend feels like to Jo. In every book, we read feelings based on those that the writer has experienced. In every character, the writer suffers. If the writer does not suffer, the characters are flat and boring. Let's try another one.

Love - An intense feeling of deep affection

hahaha!! Now that definition is so basic, it makes me want to gag!!

Repeat steps above and write it down.

My attempt (I am thinking of my boyfriend and love of my life, Mike):

My heart is pounding in my chest and my whole body feels like every nerve ending is on overdrive. His face fills my mind and tears spring to my eyes because I am overwhelmed by the intensity of it and there's no other way to release the feeling. If I don't let it out or express it somehow, I am afraid it will keep growing and cause me to shut down completely until I feel his hand on mine or his arms around me. I feel like there is a steel cable that runs from my heart to his and that the further apart we are, the thicker and stronger it becomes. I have a pulling sensation in my stomach and chest that tells me I need to be near him. When I am near him, it stops pulling and lies at rest. I feel an all encompassing fear along with everything else because I worry that it's too good; too much. I see his face and smile because he is beautiful, he makes me unbelievably happy, and my feet and head feel light as a feather.

If you want to, feel free to draw on those descriptions. If you notice, they intertwine with other feelings.

I set this challenge for you today: BEGIN YOUR BIBLE OF FEELINGS

Open up your word processor and list every feeling you can think of. Spend a few minutes every day filling it out. I beg you not to try each and every one of them in a single day because you will end up totally spent and with such a tumult of emotions in you, you might not be able to think. In addition, drawing on all of those memories may leave you with the lingering feelings. You have memories! USE THEM!

Leave a comment today with your attempt. I would love to read them! List your feeling, the definition, and your description! Let's make it fun!

I am running late today. Time to write!!

Until next time, WRITE ON!!

Jo

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