|Posted on August 20, 2017 at 7:25 PM|
From Facebook post 3-11-17
I came to a point in the nov where my protagonist goes to investigate some nasty events, forcing him to revisit the death of a friend. I realized that I have the perfect opportunity to rip his heart out. This is the stuff we sadistic writer types like best! My friend Jim says I'm a cold hearted bitch*. I should be relishing this! (*Totally a compliment.)
Except that it's all coming out rather shallow. I'm certainly not twisting the knife as hard as I could, or else I'm using one of those keen Ginsu gadgets; it's so sharp it can cut you to the quick...but you don't feel it for hours!
Nah. I need to dull the blade a bit or use a serrated knife instead. You can never sew that gash back together without scarring. Can't remember if I learned that in nursing school or cooking school...they were pretty much the same. Anyway, I digress.
How to deal with male grief? Especially this kind. The friend in question didn't just pass in his sleep, if you follow. And we're not talking a simple memory he can get over with the help of a Macallan or two. There's no craft book on this that I know of. I can't turn to my own bitter soul...now what?
I generally turn to novels in these cases. How did other guys write this stuff? But when you're itching to write, you can't stop to read entire books looking for the juicy bits.
Then it came to me: movies. Huzzah, the power of film! Ages ago, while researching something entirely different, I was reminded of a scene from a TV show, which basically boiled down to a reaction shot. A minor character goes from elation over a visit from a friend to horror and desperation once he realizes why he's really there. It's literally five seconds. And it's been on my mind for well over a year: how to describe, so accurately that readers feel it in their bones, the nearly palpable heartbreak this character experiences. How to make them want to reach through the pages and hug the poor bastard.
The inspiration for this novel came from the combination of two movies and a different TV show. If I got this far without wanting to delete everything, maybe watching something deeply moving will provide oil to the gears?
The only movie I openly cried to was Waking the Dead with Billy Crudup. I wept so hard I had to pause it so I wouldn't miss anything. The themes of loss and regret were profound.
I adore that movie. I swore I'd never see it again.