Thursday, May 02, 2019

Speaking of Words...

I, Donis, have found it very interesting to read my blogmates recent thoughts on inspiration, the reality of murder and crime solving, outlining (or not), technique, and conveying sense of place.

All of these deep thoughts have made me consider the psychology of my own writing. So much of my technique is unconscious. How do I convey a sense of place, the personalities and motivations of my characters? How does one describe a smell, a color, an emotion? It helps to have a spectacular vocabulary, I’m sure, but it doesn’t seem to be the number of words a writer uses, but which words. Genius is the ability to choose the right words and arrange them in just the right order to convey the perfect nuance of feeling and senses.

What, you may ask, is she babbling about now? I’m actually talking about Ernest Hemingway.I was never a big fan of Hemingway’s manly themes, but I have a great appreciation for the genius of his style. He is terse in the extreme, but somehow he is able to create real honest-to-God people coping with situations that most of us will never face.His characters are so human that in the end, the reader feels she might really know what it’s like to be an anti-Fascist freedom fighter or an elderly Cuban fisherman.How does he do it when he is so sparing with words?

Whether or not we authors convey crime-solving techniques with absolute accuracy or not, mystery is a fabulous form for exploring character. In fact, mystery is all about motivation. Why do people do what they do? What is going on in a character’s head when he is driven to kill someone? Why is the sleuth trying to figure out who did the deed? What is driving him? Do I think about these things when I write a mystery? Yes, I do, especially when I’m creating the character of the murderer. But then after I have written about her for a while, she separates from me, in a way, and begins to react unconsciously to the situations I put her in, like a real person would do.

I know this phenomenon occurs with all authors, but it does make you feel a bit like you’re possessed. I wonder what Dr. Freud would have to say about it?

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