How to write fiction

How to write fiction without naming feelings: conceal don’t feel

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For her, the long montsh of drought had arrived since long before. The trees and flowers within her mind suffered a drought of a long time. Even cacti had come to shrivel and contract over themselves under a scorching sun that left behind only thorns. 


               To accomplish a reaction from readers implies more than feeling. It means to exaggerate. Amplify or to immerse in the feeling; so long we exact a reaction. So the audience/target/reader follows the feeling along us; hate, love, feels hungry. All the opposite of the famous phrase. A very famous phrase that can be used to talk about the rule “show, don’t tell”. Writing/drawing stories/comics requires us to be able to “conceal where it is visible”.

               Do you remember that I’ve had already warn you about being clever when reading manuals? In «90 days to your novel», specifically in the chapter about the types of scenes, Sarah Domet mentions it again… just to clarify:

Never explicitly state an emotion

<<Here’s a general rule for dealing with emotions in fiction: Never explicitly state the emotion. Do not write, “He was sad” or “He felt happy.” I’m sure you’ve heard the rule: Show, don’t tell. Readers do not like to be told how they’re supposed to read a scene. Instead, readers relate to emotions through physical sensations. If you use an emotional scene to reveal Kevin’s anger at having learned his bar, Milton’s, was robbed, don’t write: “Kevin was mad.” Instead, show it: “Kevin’s hands balled up into fists that turned red and then white. His face felt hot, like a tea kettle about to explode with steam. He bit the inside of his cheek and tasted blood, warm and metallic….” >>

When the rule is broken and feelings are stated

Is that true? Partially. I guess Sarah Domet hadn’t read Andrea Camilleri. And that ain’t a surprise. A writer (one being paid for writer, I don’t count at all), designer or illustrator has less and less time to do anything for pleasure. Either reading or drawing. Little by little the time to refresh our ideas goes cut down. Taking by granted Montalbano already existed in 2010 and Domet would feel like reading an Italian… So, let’s not judge her for that. Anyways, WE don’t know for sure.

Which doesn’t deter you and I from exploring a little more this business. And I quote from Morte in mar aperto e ialtre indagini del giovane Montalbano[1] by (that’s right) Andrea Camilleri, 2014[2]

«Livia, fascinated by that clear calm night, wanted to wait for the post ship to be in open sea to leave”

Morte in mar aperto e ialtre indagini del giovane Montalbano

A resource that’s not exhausted in Livia. From time to time, Montalbano neighs happily. And the feeling is named and visible through the feeling itself.

From this fragment we get something out, the rule more than anything, is general and not a golden one.

After all, rules are there until someone learns them and turns them around. But to break such rules, learning them comes first. You can’t go following someone who has broken them just because. In the meantime, what you can do is do what you can do and are eager to do.

[1] Hasn’t this been translated to English?!!!  You’re missing on a really fun series. You can also watch the TV series. Luca Zingaretti is cool.

[2] Translated by me  since I’ve read the book in Spanish, thus the translation isn’t certified but it is as good as homemade.

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