Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What makes you cry, sob, blubber or bawl?

Do you cry often or hardly ever?  Do you feel embarrassed after a good cry or fully cleansed?  Do you cry at the drop of a hat or does it take a catastrophe? 
Everyone has different triggers and some might make sense while others may make you raise a brow but I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that shedding a few tears now and then can be good for you.  It means something has affected you strongly enough to trigger the emotions many try so hard to hide…sensitivity, compassion, kindness, concern.

I’ve already shared at least one thing that can make me cry.  Yeah, I’m a sucker for a show that gives me a reason to root for someone reaching so hard for their dream and why wouldn’t I be?  I’m able to relate while I also reach hard for my own dream.
Television and movies are more likely to bring a tear to your eye because so many of us are visual but have you ever read a book that made you cry? 

I have.  Not many, but a few.  And why did they make me cry?  Most likely a character I liked had to die for whatever reason or something tragic has happened, especially when it involves children or animals.  But this is only if the author is very good at descriptions and character emotions so that I can see and feel what the characters are going through.
I don’t know that my books will ever make anyone cry but I hope they hit a nerve every now and then so that you think you might shed just a tear.  Hitting any emotion, whether it’s sadness, humor, anger or concern for a character is a great achievement every writer would hope to accomplish.  It means the reader is connecting with the story and the characters.  It means the reader cares.

I care about my story and my characters and I hope the readers do as well.  Especially if it means they’ll come back for more as the series continues because I enjoy the thought of others wanting to spend more time with the characters I’ve created.
While I won’t go around killing off my characters to draw any tears (well, maybe), there are other difficulties many deal with in life that can be brought into a book to draw readers in.  In No Mother of Mine there was the question about whether a mother could harm her own children, the question about Jorja’s parentage, the question about why Kat’s mother abandoned her as a child and the question about how an upstanding citizen could hide their true nature.  Whether a reader has ever experienced these types of situations or not, most readers have at least asked the question, “why?”  Why would a mother hurt her child?  Why would a parent lie?  Why would a mother abandon a child?  And, why do people kill? 

In Best Kept Secrets some questions are answered while more arise.  Who is Jorja’s father and why did he leave?  How far will a mother go to protect her child, even at the risk of her own life?  How do people deal with terrible or tragic events in their lives while doing their best to live normally?  How do you protect your loved ones when the evil you perceive is not the evil you must be prepared for?  And, how many masks can one person wear?
In real life, we don’t always get the answers but in books (most of the time, anyway) we do.  And if the author is able to pull you into the story and into the lives of the characters so that you really want to know the answers, the book will also pull strong emotions from you as you turn each page to get those answers.

And maybe, whether the results relieve you or sadden you, they may also make you cry.  But that’s okay.  As with writing, reading is more of a solitary task so if you show any emotion, no one really has to know.  And even if they do, is it such a bad thing to express any sentiment for a fictional character you enjoy reading about?
As the creator of characters in my world, my answer would be ‘no.’

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