I believe we share our stories with the world to entertain, inspire, and encourage others.
Novelists wear many different hats to create realistic and exciting stories. We study, research, visit our settings, interview people, and spend hours learning the craft while exploring character to create believable emotions. We write for ourselves to stoke our incessant imaginations, and we write for readers to venture into new worlds and learn more about themselves. I believe we share our stories with the world to entertain, inspire, and encourage others. My philosophy is if I don’t change and grow into a better person by the end of a novel, how can I expect character or reader transformation?
Creativity is emotional, no matter the type of art. Giving life to a story requires intense feelings to master the arduous process of writing and rewriting. Writers, love your stories or develop a new idea. None of us need to force passion into a story we aren’t actively involved in. The process becomes a waste of time, energy, and talent. To make matters worse, the final project shows a lack of enthusiasm. If we write what others dictate and not our hearts’ desire, we are selling our souls.
Some of us have personalities that demand we finish a book before beginning a new one, but unless the writer has a habit of not completing projects—move on. Life is too short to spend our days on a project we dislike.
Let’s face it. Hours alone twisting and turning words and phrases challenge the most stalwart writer. While a difficult task grows us into stronger people, rejections and harsh critiques of what is basically a solo endeavor can equate to discouragement. Our family and friends believe we are eccentric, bizarre, and need to be on meds. I like the assigned description because it reflects the qualities of a creative person. Take their assessment as a compliment.
Actively participate in a writer’s group. Pay it forward to the next generation of writers, and you’ll find your zeal and interest in the wonderful world of writing will take a spike. The satisfaction of speaking or teaching a workshop blesses the listeners and us.
Seek ways to stay emotionally healthy. Eat a nutritionally sound diet. Exercise not only for your body but also for your mind (did you know exercise can improve focus and concentration?). Establish priorities that add purpose and meaning to your life. Journal consistently and be honest with yourself. When we regularly record our thoughts, including successes and failures, tragedy and celebration, pain and moments of elation, we are easing stress from our lives. Our experiences are a treasure chest, and chronicling them not only keeps us emotionally fit, but also helps us stay physically healthy. It’s been proven those who journal sleep better and have fewer health issues. I’ve had writers tell me how using the emotions caused by walking through the fire of life’s problems strengthened their stories. In many instances the writer’s transparency resulted in a publishing contract and subsequent awards.
To write authentic emotions, we need to understand human behavior, and the study requires grasping who we are personally as writers through an ongoing analysis of our behavior. Emotion is an essential part of our personality; we’re born with feelings that manifest when life happens. The ups, downs, victories, and defeats form who we are internally. To write strong emotions, the writer must face their own emotions head-on and not be afraid of them. Writing helps us identify and process those agonizing emotions we’d prefer to deny. Within the written word, we find peace and order. Writers who refuse to identify and process their own emotions cannot write effective emotions or emotive conflict. In other words, if I deny my pain, how can I write the pain of others?
“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” – Roger Ebert
Our mission, if we accept the challenge, is to transfer our emotions into the lives of
our characters. In other words, we get in touch with our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Writers, kick down the walls of self-imposed doubts, and show your character experiencing real life. Attempt the seemingly impossible, write, rewrite, and build their confidence. Along the way, we find life struggles can add definition to our characters, readers, and ourselves.
“A work of fiction grips our imaginations because we care, both about the characters in the tale and about ourselves. To put it another way, we are concerned about the outcome of the story because what is happening to the characters could happen to us.” – Donald Maass
Exploring the Art of Emotion and Dialogue and Emotion
Bold Vision Publishing
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. Connect with DiAnn on her various social media platforms here: www.diannmills.com