Mozart’s Brain, Too
What?? More Random Creative Writing Squibs??
…And More Odd Things To Consider??…
Broadsheet No. 2.9 – Opening The Emotional Gates
This is a Shakespir edition 2016
Copyright September 2016
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[A broadsheet is, well… You already know, because I say it before every Mozart’s Brain Broadsheet. Go ahead… Nail it to a tree. Or to the cathedral doors in Worms, Germany, like Martin Luther did a couple hundred years ago. ‘Nuff said…]
I’m going to speak of something all of you aspiring (and talented, as I’m certain all of you have it within you!) writers have already figured out for yourselves. It’s crucial to being a motivated, constantly improving writer, whether of fiction or nonfiction. But especially of fiction.
And that’s because fiction itself is a medium designed specially to generate emotional responses from our readers. You can almost plot the reader’s emotional ride – their ups and downs, their depressions and soaring highs, their gasps of terror and their floods of tears of joy (you get the picture…) – as if you were plotting the archetypal ups and downs of a whole novel’s development, exposition and conclusion.
And at the final act, you want your readers to feel the most intense sense of ‘rightness’, compounded of great relief, heights of joy, deep caring, and the bitter pangs of depression lows to season everything with, as they draw to the end of your marvelous story.
How’s that for this broadsheet’s intro?…
I’ve shared with you, kind readers, some of the things I’ve discovered about myself and my interest in creative writing. Like my reliance on certain kinds of music to help me create an atmosphere for more free-flowing creativity on screen. Yes, I’ll acknowledge it again. There are actually specific compositions by specific geniuses, not merely types or classes of music, to which I look for continued inspiration. Most importantly, I never tire of hearing them.
Now, I know many of you have other ways of getting yourself motivated – in the mood – for creative writing. Meditation is a well-known favorite. Going for walks is another. High-intensity athletic efforts or exercise get the blood flowing and the heart pumping, and creates an adrenaline ‘high’ which can bring a much sharper perception of things of the outer world, and those things of your inner world as well.
But something came to me – an insight, maybe – of myself as I grew closer in its writing to the first novel I ever wrote. And that something is an openness to emotions.
Now, prior to creative writing, I’d unconsciously tended to place things and scenes which showed signs of emotional impact ‘in a box’, to keep them contained, managed, unable to upset my ‘desired’ equilibrium. I was so wonderfully ignorant at that point. Like, containing emotions was a virtue, or something. Well, I was wrong, so wrong…
And as I wrote, and created, and deepened my characters, and had them feeling and emoting, and flaring with sudden passions, and being assailed by sharp feelings which wrought pain and misery, I realized – ever so slowly – that… It was me who was feeling these things. Quite intensely.
And then I began to truly see my characters as living breathing human beings. And I discovered something else about them, and how they could show their feelings. I learned through their body language, their gestures, and especially their eyes and how their feelings could show through them, that they were three-dimensional, capable of the fullest range of feelings of any human being.
Wow. What a revelation.
And so, I started to explore this new field of how emotions can grow, and how they can be released in so many different ways, and how varied and multiplex they are. And I learned something more…
I learned how I could open the gates of my own emotions, and revolve them in my mind’s eye, and could feel them with all kinds of feelings, to see what they were made of. And this I found astonishing, because it let a great light in on something I’d had been struggling with as a writer, trying to create believable characters and situations with complex emotional twists and conflicting motivations and values.
Folks, do you know how beautiful the human eye is? It is more than an incredibly engineered and precise instrument for gathering visual impressions. It is a marvelous thing of perfection, in its shape, its colors, its ability to express the finest, most diaphanous and transparent currents of thought and feeling going on inside someone.
How many of us have ever watched the kind of period drama produced by the folks at BBC Films. A series like ‘Downton Abbey’, or ‘Pride and Prejudice’, or ‘The Forsythe Saga’, are all outstanding works, the sort of thing which the appreciative gaze and receptive heart can watch many times and never grow jaded.
Part of the reason is the way in which the camera catches the smallest movements of the character’s eye – its movement, its shape, the arch of an eyebrow, the change in its hue as a strong emotion builds, and so many other effects, some of which are minute but incredibly important in their meaning on the screen.
This is the kind of attention to our own characters we can use to bring them to a fuller and more realistic life. It is essential in romances.
I use descriptions of a person’s gaze quite often in my stories. I find it wonderfully helpful in setting the scene, in carrying the plot forward by ‘silent speech’ in the absence of spoken dialogue, and in conveying a more richly complex set of meanings among actors than could be accomplished by dialogue alone.
Some of my most intensely emotional writing sessions – and I’ve had quite a few of them thus far – have been centered around this use of descriptive narrative around the eyes and gazes. It’s why for any major character, I take pains to describe their eyes and give them personalities, before I ever have that character engage with others, or even within themselves. It also brings me more aware of how this same principle of observation can be enriched even further by studying and crafting other modes of expression through physical gestures and postures.
But, none of this is new…
I’m in no doubt you all know all about emotional exploration and shaping techniques, and I’m probably wasting your time by repeating stuff you have already embedded in your own writing skills. But for me, it has been so important a realization that I’m often still astonished at its relevance and power. And I speak of it because it is, for me, a tremendous motivator to write, and write some more. Because in it, I see more of that beauty of language and living character creation I want to get down on the screen, filling in the story’s picture. It helps me become sympathetic, or hostile, or encouraging, or admiring, and it helps me bring the plot more alive, and to move the story further along toward the day when I feel it’s complete.
When it’s a real story. One I’d like to read at leisure. On a beautiful afternoon… Someplace inspiring…
Go for it!
Because you can…
About The Author, Wim Baren
Wim Baren is the pen name of the author, who has had an abiding fascination with history and the many things throughout it that are so incredible that they could not have been made up.
The author attended an eastern college and then served in the nation’s armed forces for three years in Viet Nam, a very green place with, at that time, a high metallic density to the air.
From there, he realized that his technology education at college was already obsolete, and went to a small business school where he learned all about strategy and business and finance, and entered the financial services business, in which he labored until he realized that people wanted not so much advice as they wanted help on actually getting things done that they wanted to get done.
He turned his hand to consulting in project management, became an independent consultant, developed professional education courses in projects and risk and leadership, even a software learning application (!), and generally made as if this were his final career choice.
But it wasn’t.
And since I’ve turned my hand to authorship, this little work, among other offerings, was a quick brainwave that I thought I could share with others who might like a little literary confection, coupling the worlds of the real and fantasy.
Feedback (What you really think, but please keep it polite, respectful, as others would do for you) is really welcomed from you, as well as your recommending this little opinion to your friends and family, and neighbors, and passing strangers.
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