Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Edit 6: Emotions

With the dreaded settings edit out of the way, we move on to something a little easier.

Kind of.

Not really.

Okay, this is the emotions edit.

So here’s the funny thing about me: I am an emotions overanalyzer. Not just in my writing, but in life. I’m often deeply analytical about why I feel the way I feel and why others react the way they do. Since I got past the awkward years of early teenagedom, I’ve always been pretty self aware about my emotions.

I was not aware that other people didn’t analyze their every motive and thought, so when I started writing, a lot of my characters did the same thing. Until some lovely people in my critique group told me, uh, teenagers don’t think like this.

This came as a bit of a surprise to me, as a teenager who thought exactly like this. But once I thought about it, as I do, I knew they were right. Most people just experience emotions. Some are more impulsive than others but they don’t think too hard about what they’re feeling. I do, so that means stepping out of my skin to write my more impulsive characters. And my current MC is all kinds of impulsive. Thus, we have the emotions edit.

The emotions edit is simple. I read through all the more emotional scenes and make sure the characters’ reactions are in the moment and natural. I make sure that the emotions have punch and that I don’t waste time explaining them. I also make sure that I don’t repeat emotional descriptors too much, as I sometimes do.

This isn’t as tedious as the scene edit, but it is really difficult for me. My characters can’t always act rationally because it doesn’t fit in with their personality. They can’t always understand why they feel the way they feel. Especially when they’re young. This edit is hard for me, let’s face it. But it improves the manuscript vastly once its over.

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