In the last post I said, The Narrow Road is the hardest story I have written so far. It was! I hope to not write anymore that left me with roller coaster emotions from telling someone’s life story. I have to admit that when completed I was not only relieved but very proud of the end product and I think “Brian” is, too.
Sitting down and writing someones story is much different than sitting and listening to life stories being told over a matter of time. Sitting around the table telling stories of our childhood can be fun, depending on what those stories are about.
I also said I know the people involved in “Brian’s” story. I heard some of the stories, some of the hurtful times, the facts about this man’s life, and his accomplishments, failures, loves, and losses.
There was some research that had to be done and that took a little bit of time and effort on my part. Researching documents, digging back in my memories of what he told me. Looking into what it was really like back then to be able to give a true picture of what an orphanage in the 1930’s looked like and felt like. To be able to describe those times so that the reader feels like he/she is right there.
I’ve mentioned before about having to plan weddings and needing to describe even the parents of the bride and groom’s clothing. I learned that is necessary, not just because women love to read about those things, but because it is important within the story – to make it real!
It’s no different here, in “Brian’s” story. For example; “Four year old Brian stands gaping at the looming building with shadows falling across the fading grey bricks, and screams, “That’s not my home!” versus, “Four year old Brian stands gaping at the building and screams, “That’s not my home!”
Here’s another example: Brain falls to his knees sobbing and yells, “God, how could you love me when you let this happen?” Versus, “Brian falls to his knees sobbing, ignoring the wet leaves soaking his jeans, and yells, “God, how can you love me when you let this happen? The rabbit that’s watching scampers away and the birds take flight leaving the woods to absorb Brian’s sobs.”
Re-read and see which of these two examples raise a stirring within you. Does one cause a mental image of the scene or leave it flat?
It is important to add descriptions that will place your reader right there with the character. Be careful though and don’t overdo. I have read books that will describe a door knob and take six pages to do it! For me, that’s a distraction. Some description is necessary, yes, but it can also be overdone.
We want our readers to feel, to sense, to feel like they are a part of the story. Descriptions, if not over done, will help to do that.
That’s something else I have been told by my readers, “I felt like I was right there!”
I’ll be back – hope you will, too.