Monday, June 25, 2012

Writing from the Heart

Some of you will laugh at the title of this blog post. "Isn't that what you're SUPPOSED to do?"
It's easier said than done. As writers, we begin with the kernel of an idea which (if it's a good one) will sprout into a plot, even if it's just a skeletal one. We'll create some characters to populate this story and maybe even map it out a bit --- unless your a pantster. 

From here, different writers take different tacts. Some let their characters do all the work. The writer allows them to set the story tempo and tell the story, since it's theirs to tell. This works greeat, especially in fiction. You have the plot-first crowd who maps out every detail they can possibly dream up and then write from that base. Again, perfectly solid and respectable.

This is all well and good for fiction, but what about nonfiction? What about a story where you may be the main character? This is where I find myself today.

Writing from the heart has come to assume a totally different meaning for me since I started Sarah's story. This isn't just me writing about people I may or may not know. This is a story about my family. About my baby girl. About me. 

Writers and agents often speak about "bleeding on the page." Well, I can vouch for the fact that writing a personal narrative can feel just like that. Literally. Each word stirs a memory. Those memories aren't always easy to depict in narrative and yet, when writing from the heart, from the life you've actually lived, can be exhilirating. And painful. And freeing.

Today, are you writing from your heart in your fiction or nonfiction? What is the most difficult aspect of letting it "all hang out" so to speak? 

1 comment:

  1. My fear is that someone will not understand the emotion behind the story and either gloss over it or belittle it. Since writing is all about the craft, if my reader fails to be moved in the same way I am as I walked through it, *I* am the failure. It's hard to stand naked before others and writing from the heart, I believe, is taking the greatest risk of exposure out there.