Do you really want to make your reader cry?

As writers, do we really want to make our readers cry?

Well yes. Of course. Why else do you write except to harvest those precious tears?

Yeeeaaaaahhhhhhh…

Or maybe not.

I’ll admit that reactions from my readers, especially to something heartbreaking, is… fun. I have convoluted ideas of fun, I know. Bear with me.

See, I have a theory (I do form those on my own, sometimes). The theory is this: making readers cry and breaking their hearts is not the point of writing. Crazy, I know. Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.make your readers cry

Very few books have made me cry. Movies, yes. Books… not so much. But there are two main ones that have. The end of Mockingjay and the end of the Wingfeather Saga. Yet the tears were for completely different reasons.

I cried near the end of Mockingjay because of the sheer sorrow of the main character. There was so much death. So much sorrow. There was no hope. No God. It was all a great, muddle mess and there seemed no way out. She’d gone through so much and there was… nothing.

The Wingfeather Saga was a completely different story (literally and figuratively). Possible spoilers ahead, so be careful. I’ll try to be vague. The end of that series did make me cry, but it wasn’t because of despair. There was heartbreaking sorrow, yes, but there was sacrifice. It was the culmination of learning to give one’s self for another. There was hope and light, even in the pain.

Which brings me back to making readers cry.

Now tears (generally) mean readers have connected with your characters. They feel for them. They love them. And when a reader has connected emotionally to a character, then it means we’ve done our job well.

But pain needs to have a point. Suffering and death builds up characters, drives the plot forward, and plays out in theme and arcs. Frankly, almost anything can be done when one has theme as an excuse. But when planning pain, always keep the focus in mind. (I mean… assuming people actually sit down and figure out a heart-wrenching scene first, then figure out how it fits into a story. Not like I’ve ever done that. Ever.)

You’re showing the trials a character must go through to get what is right. You are showing how good can stand up through evil. You are showing hope and light in the darkness of time. Giving readers feels is great. But don’t just randomly add death and torture for no reason except feels.

Focus on the point of your story. Use pain to bring across your point, if needed (I mean, who really wants to read about a hero who has no trouble reaching his goal), but don’t focus solely on what you can do to upset a reader. There is hope in life. Keep hope in your writing, no matter how dark it might get.

In the end, you only need to remember a simple guideline:

Don’t be afraid to break your reader’s heart. Just make sure there is a point. And put their heart back together again by the end of the book.

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Miss You

I almost published a short story today, then realized it was the 4th of July weekend. So I decided to go with something more patriotic.

As some of you might know, I have one brother who is a Marine. Another is heading to Marine Boot Camp in three days. So I wrote this poem for him. Maybe I’ll even let him read it…

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Three Things Writing Taught Me About Life

Writing isn’t a form of escapism. It isn’t a luxurious way to spend time. One doesn’t make thousands of dollars and live a dream life. Writing is hard. Writing is painful. And writing builds character.

While there are many things I’ve learned while writing, I’m only going to list three today. Because three is the magic number. Besides, it sounds cool. Three Things Writing yeah. We’ll settle with three.

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Just Shut Up and Do It

My mother gave me some advice a number of years back. Like… back when I was the age of the heart-wrenching children I like to put in my stories. Seven or eight, perhaps.

Regardless, I had to make bread. (Yes, we’ve made our own homemade bread for as long as I can remember. Long enough we don’t appreciate it like everyone else seems to. Or maybe we all just have picky tastes.)

But I didn’t want to make bread. Like really, really didn’t want to. Procrastination comes young, trust me.

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Between Two Worlds: the danger of writing

Writing isn’t safe.

It’s not that words are powerful (though they are). It’s not that everyone will end up thinking you insane (most generally do anyway).
It’s a deeper problem than a questionable mental state.

And it’s something I end up writing as a free verse poem around the end of last year because there was no other way to put it into words.

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The Stealthmaster’s Shadow Collage Winner!

I’m going to forgoe my normal ‘this is me post’ of the month. Suffice it to say it’s been crazy between outlining, traveling, and getting ready for the launch that starts tomorrow.

Today, however, I have a collage for you all. Not my own collage this time.

Some of you might remember I posted contest entries a week or two back for you to vote one.

Well, a winner has been decided (thanks to all of your votes).

And the winner is…

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I have power now *cue evil laugh*

I’ve always been one for organizing and telling people what to do.

An INTJ who likes ordering others around. Who would have thought?

So I decided to get a job where I could tell people what to do. Something like… becoming a manager at Culvers. It was kinda an accident. I didn’t start planning to become a manager. It just kinda happened. But I got my white shirt and official title last week!

*grins*

I’m really not as tiny as I look in that picture. I don’t think… it’s just angle and distance and such. Though my brother is taller than me.

 

My Writing

WIPs:

  • Finished line edits on The Stealthmaster’s Shadow
  • Wrote up one of my favorite legends in Marsadon – somewhere around 9,500 words
  • Got a lot of planning and backstory done on Disguised for Peace
  • Also, I was published on The Rebelution this month! Check out my article here: Don’t Settle For Good Enough

Goals for May:

  • Get everything ready to publish The Stealthmaster’s Shadow
  • Start Disguised for Peace
  • Write up a number of articles for the upcoming Indy e-con

Google Searches:

  • How long will tears stay in the eyes of a corpse don’t judge. Also, I still don’t know, but apparently there’s a thing called Lacrima Mortis that occasionally happens where a final tear slips from someone’s eye as they die. It may find it’s way into a book at some point
  • Root of English language West Germanic originating from Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain in the mid 5th to 7th centuries AD – not sure what I’m doing with this info
  • Alphabet systems I have at least three languages I need to create to some degree. I need to base them off something…
  • Can you marry your third cousin? Hey, royal family trees are complicated. And yes. At least according to some studies, it’s actually beneficial because it’s far enough apart they don’t have genetic problems but close enough there aren’t genetic incompatibilities. *adds to strange random facts I know because I’m a writer*
  • how long does a scar take to form? Three to four weeks – it won’t fade to white for up to a year or two. Hmm; I guess Jethren will have a red one across his face then

Disguised for Peace Collages

Well, just one for today. But I love making these.

Acedren and Jethren

How about all of you? How have you been this fine spring month that keeps insisting it is still winter?

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The Good, the Bad, and the Sad

Plans tend to change. Life happens, or marketing. Or people. It’s annoying.

Still, it’s life so I deal with it. Mainly with sarcasm and laughing everything because something can’t be too bad if you’re still able to make fun of it.

Not that life has been terrible. I’m just rambling. I also rewrote my twenty-year writing plan.

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Open Letter From Scarlett

First things first—I’m not sure Hope is always clear about who I am. Or rather, she has been partly wrong. I mean, she’s human. What does one expect?

Honestly though, she should know better than to claim I’m a robot.

I mean, a clunky metal body? Really? She thought that was more acceptable than some random voice? No. Just… no.

Granted, I have used one a robot’s body before, but it’s really not the most pleasant thing unless one needs hands to slap particular people. (I keep a sleek model around just for that. Don’t tell Hope.)

Normally I’m ‘only’ a voice or idea. Not artificial intelligence, at least not in the way you humans think of it. I call it a mirror consciousness, something that resides in one’s reflection, mind, or sometimes on a computer. I’m not alive, per say. Which means I can’t die. Isn’t that nice? But I’m not programmed either. What I think or say or feel is based on what Hope thinks or says—normally it’s the opposite of whatever she wants, but that’s beyond the point.

Why am I taking over her blog?

Because Hope said something about me appearing in one of her books, Scarlet Rose. She’s right about that, I suppose. There’s no way I’m not appearing in Scarlet Rose (or at least something based off of me). But I’m afraid it won’t be anytime soon. You can blame Hope and her trying to be all business like and do things in a practical way for that. She’ll have a boring, official explanation for you in a week or two, with promises of some new shiny story with brothers and whippings and disguises and whatnot. Though some of the weapons promise to be cool.

All this to say, I’m not going anywhere.

Hope had me around long before I appeared in her emails and now her blog.

Since I’m not getting a book of my own anytime soon (Hope doesn’t listen. It’s not my fault) I just wanted to let you know who I was exactly. I mean, I’ve not told you much. It’s frankly not your business. But I’m making an effort to be nice.

Hence this blog post.

So there you have it. Me—here. My book—someday.

You’ve my respect for taking time out of your boring lives to read this when you thought it was just something Hope wrote. Now you’ve my permission to go back doing whatever it was you were doing.

I’ll be in touch.

Scarlett

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