Last week I was re-reading Legend by Marie Lu and remembering again just how good it is to be caught up in a story that I just don’t want to put down. And how, as a writer, that’s the kind of story I want to create.
The problem is, there’s a huge gap between the story I envision in my mind and what I can manage to create using words on paper. Sometimes, I feel like all the work I do on my words to get them closer to that emotional vision is taking them further away. Oh sure, I’m getting the events in the right places to build a more compelling plot, to develop character, to improve the pacing and all the other things I need to do to build a story. But I can’t help feeling that sometimes my real goal—my dream of creating a powerful emotional experience— is getting lost in the middle of thinking about structure and other technical details (see Marcia Hoehne’s Of Fiction Writers and English Majors for an interesting perspective on this).
I know that revising is supposed to make writing better, and it does. But stories are also a little fragile when it comes to the emotional side of things, and it’s so easy to forget to nurture that part of the story. To get caught up in where the characters are going and what they are doing instead of how they are feeling and how the reader might be feeling. Sometimes, it seems that revising some parts of the story too much, or maybe revising the wrong parts, drums the feeling right out of a story.
I’m holding onto the hope that as I get better at the structural and technical aspects of writing, I’ll be able to give the emotional side of the story even more space to grow.