Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting It Right

"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right."
~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

The toughest part of writing has to be making human feelings come across on bare paper (or a bare screen) without sounding trite or forced. And yet, if we know our characters well enough, they speak for themselves.

 The trick, my friends, is knowing them well enough.


When her tears had subsided, he murmured, “A’er marenken, Marenya. M’ashkenai el folmendur.” I hold you in my heart, Marenya. My heart burns forever.

“M’ashkenai el folmendur,” she replied.

A line from an ancient poem, quoted by lovers through the ages. He kissed her again, not carelessly as he had done before, but fearfully, longingly, asking for her reply and receiving it back, drawing strength from her and giving her strength in return. He had been living under the sun for forty years, and had only just been born.

As I struggle to find my voice again, these are the passages that make the characters come alive.  These are where the characters speak. 

This is where I begin.


  1. Good luck finding your characters. I think my characters and yours must be at a beach drinking mojitos (or non-alcoholic drinks) because mine decided to take a break from me as well.

    You're right, the characters speak for themselves, but sometimes we need to be patient for them, after all they are patient with us at times.

  2. Mine are probably guzzling brandy, Jen! They need it to stay warm in the snow. heh heh

  3. Nice. I too read something that inspires me to write better. It is hard to capture emotion on paper. Everyone is different.

    Thanks for the post.

  4. That was beautiful Christine.

    Sensual, emotive, insightful.

    The trick, for me anyways, is taking one perfect sentiment, and carrying it throughout the entire novel. Or at least "showing" why it is no longer the reigning concept.


  5. That is an extremely insightful comment, Donna. I'm going to spend some time seeing how I can work on that with this book.

    Thank you!


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