9 Mar 2012

Using emotion in writing

Use every experience in your writing.

Right now, I'm trying not to worry. On the whole, I'm succeeding. But every now and again, niggling concern intrudes. What if I never see my friend again? I've already experienced the death of a writing friend recently. We weren't close, but now he's gone, I miss him. The world is bereft of one more gifted writer. Were his stories ever published? Will his family take over and posthumously share them with the world? I won't name the people, but rather give an idea of how to turn a negative withdrawal into a positive drive.
Long ago, I learned not to worry. I read Edgar Cayce's books published by his family on readings he performed for people he'd never met. A psychic healer. He gave the message that the object of our worry might never come about, given that circumstances are in constant flux. Concern—that's different. One can control concern, batter it with flour and contain the emotion in a neat parcel to be fried later, either in sorrow or joy.

Right. I'm not worrying. That's established. How can I use this emotion in my writing? Maybe the brain exercise will tire me out so I can't think. One of my characters could go to hospital for tests and come out with every problem solved. Trouble is: I've already written the death of the mentor in my plot. She didn't leave hospital. You see where my mind is taking me now? I don't need to use this concern in my plot. Maybe I should rewrite the mentor's outcome from her stay in hospital. But the whole story would change. The mentor gives an enabling message to the hero.

My darling, wonderful brother-in-law died a few years ago. I used the sorrow aroused to finish one of my novels. What a powerful emotion grief is. It takes the body hostage until the passion dissipates with tearful regret. We live on, carrying a small part of that person's goodness inside us. How strange that the best is all we remember of a person. Even a pet's wonderful moments of love cling to us constantly, no matter how many years go by. I remember the first time a pet's death affected me. At ten years old, I watched through the window as the collectors came for a little stray dog. I thought my heart would break. But I recovered.

Enough of this descent into sorrow. Think of the positive.

My friend will come out of hospital any day. I'll get an email, telling me she felt to lethargic to contact me. I'll understand and thank God for my good fortune. I'll laugh with my husband and we'll say how silly I was.
One thing I know: I'll use this emotion in my writing. I'm working on my tenth novel right now. After that, another plot will bubble around in my mind and fly out through my fingers. It'll be the best story yet, and all because of this concern.

P.S. I've just heard that she's all right with a diagnosis made and treatment prescribed. She's come back. Thank you God.


  1. Francene, I love, love, love the post about emotion. I think I know who the writer friend who passes away is. ): I'm sad, too. But I'm glad I read this, as well as your I Am The Same poem, complimented by very nice photos.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful words with us.

    1. Silvia,

      Thank you for your support and enthusiasm.

  2. Great advice! Thanks for sharing something so personal to inspire and help the rest of us.

  3. This is a beautiful and powerful article about using our grief, concern, and all of our emotions in our writing. You are right. Something good can come out of anything, so long as we look for the good. I think I know who the friend you recently lost is, and I miss him too; but in his own way, he's still teaching all of us and therefore, he will survive forever. :-)

    And I'm glad your friend is out of the hospital now. She is great, an asset to the future of literature.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.


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