Writing What’s in Your Heart

When your heart is full…grab a pen. When your heart is low, grab a pen. A little inner voice told me to do this, and I have been listening to that inner voice a lot more lately as I see the the combination of the chapters I’ve shelled out this way.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, I grabbed my Ipad with a heavy heart thinking of how my father in law must just simply want his wife to come home…to get to talk to her and see her smiling face.

I wrote:

Cloudy rainy Sunday’s were the hardest days. She didn’t even want to go to services. Worship seemed impossible to get through when your heart was broken. It was like telling your heartache to a trusted friend or your Mama. Going to church like this was telling it to God who is the ultimate friend. She knew the tears would roll uncontrollably and everyone would wonder what in the world was wrong with her. Immediately after services, the gossips would make it their mission to find out what sin must be weighing her down.

Every chime of the hour brought a new wondering of what he was doing and if he ever thought of her. She had to stop thinking like this, and move on. Every time she tried, she failed, but she kept starting the cycle over, even though everything seemed to remind her of him. A good movie he would appreciate, a meal he loved. Thinking of him was too much, and not enough at the same time. She hung her head wondering if this gaping hole in her heart would ever be filled.

I do miss my mother in law, but I am happily married and my husband is well and by my side. So my heart doesn’t feel the aches and yearnings my character’s does. I have to draw on my experiences in love and life, of those close to me as well as pay attention to my mood. I can give my writing a quality no one else can by including myself and my thoughts in with the necessary moving parts that keep the plot moving forward. Of course, I have to be a good editor too, because sometimes what comes out is that garblygoop stuff no one wants to read, or I don’t want people to know I even thought! More times than not though (at least it’s my hope that) what comes out of these notes are things in my writing that will resonate with anyone who reads my work that has been there too.

So what are your techniques for capturing little parts of yourself and putting them into your character?


Filed under fiction, How To, photographs

11 responses to “Writing What’s in Your Heart

  1. I enjoyed your post, Ginger, as well as your excerpt.

    Sportswriter Paul Gallico wrote, “It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.”

    Like you, I draw upon some of my own experiences in writing my fiction. I don’t know why creative writing courses teach that we writers should remain apart from our characters and stories. I don’t know how a writer can write believably if they remain but a third party observer with no stakes.

  2. You need to invest a little piece of yourself, for your character to be realistic. Otherwise, they are just faceless gravatars.

    • I completely agree, and that is my hope, for my characters to be realistic. I would rather have my characters do or feel things that my readers understand first hand when it comes to emotions.

  3. Great perspective, Ginger. I have heard writers claim that their work is totally fictional. I’m doubtful. If I didn’t write from personal experience, especially emotions, the work wouldn’t be genuine.

  4. Very touching, Ginger. Using emotional highs and lows when writing is great advice.

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