#NaNoWriMo2015-Get to the Heart of Your Story (writing tip #28)

When I fall in love with a book it is because I experience the story as if it lives and breathes inside me; I can summon and recall the evocative and pivotal images as clearly as if I’d been there. Because I am there, each time I dive into a story I love, I participate as a reader and the most powerful images are a dance of the visual and the visceral.

Make wise use of the pivotal images of the story you are writing. What is the opening image of your story? Visualize your hero just as the story begins. Now picture her as she reacts to the inciting incident, the story’s midpoint, the crisis. See the depth of her want and her commitment to her goal.

Now take it deeper and feel what she wants, what she yearns for–experience it in your belly not your brain. Keep it simple, don’t analyze, don’t think, don’t psychologize–feel.

If you haven’t been to a preschool in awhile, visit one and look for the faces the kids have drawn and see the words that express their emotions: mad, sad, glad. 

Keep it visceral and it will be true. You don’t have to reach, you can’t analyze your way through the story, you can’t plot it the way you would chart your course on a map. Stay close to your protagonist…stay close to your worthy antagonist and the world of the story. At your core, you and your characters share the mystery, the questions, you share fears and yearning and failure and triumph.

Your stories live inside you until–with your courage, your willingness to risk, your commitment to experiencing, your use of your craft, your willingness to share your heart–your stories live in the world.

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