Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Writing Your Passion

If you go to any writer’s conference, spend any time speaking to published authors, or visiting a writer’s chat room or email loop, one phrase you will hear over and over is "Write your passion!"

This might mean something else entirely, but to me, it means that I need to look deep inside me and figure out what it is that makes me tick. What do I get excited about? What revs up the creative juices? What am I passionate about? What topics get me riled up, in both good and bad ways? What cause do I fight for? What organizations do I support? What makes me mad, or happy, or sad, or jealous? What subject matter, or person, for that matter, reaches down deep into my gut and brings out everything within - the good, the bad and the ugly?

My current WIP mixes several of these aspects. I wouldn't say it is the "Story of My Heart" (that's for another post!) but it does combine a mixture of passionate subjects in my life.

I was talking to a fellow author the other day about "revenge in fiction" and we had a good laugh at the concept. One theme in my current WIP is based on a real past experience in my life, and uses a real person - even though I changed the name of the person just slightly. I know this is possibly dangerous ground to tread, but for now, the name brings back all the memories of this person (both good and bad) and enables me to write more freely. I find that the truth flows through my fingers and out onto the paper with little effort. I am finding a release for the pent-up emotion that never got properly purged regarding this situation from my past, and it is pretty cathartic.

If we can identify with our characters on some level, and experience the things they experience, and deal with the same emotions they deal with, our writing will ring true in the hearts of our readers. I'm not saying that we must experience something before we can have our characters do it - that would lead to disaster! But when it comes to emotions, and matters of the heart, I feel it is better to write what you know. To write what you have felt and experienced, in order to properly express those feelings to your readers, and in turn, make them feel the same and really connect with your words.

Maybe that's not "writing my passion", but it sure brings out passionate writing!

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