Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Writing with Vulnerability

I like my stories intense. To me, intensity builds to extremes when the stories aren't just about plot. They're about character. The people are touchable and real and maybe someone I know. They might even be me.

Not only is this video not related to suspense, it's also not related to fiction. But the emotions and memories and leap of faith to another place and circumstance are definitely tools, as suspense novelists—or any novelists, for that matter—we need to employ.

When I write scenes requiring honesty, self-reflection, and vulnerability I always need to take a moment first. To say a prayer, or more often the case, groan one. Then I can sink a little deeper into myself and come up with something worthwhile. Something with impact that has that magic goo every single one of us shares. The stuff we don't talk about but all know about.

You know. That stuff.

Koren Zailckas looks like she's about seventeen, yet in this short interview, we get a sense she's lived however many years she's been on this planet with great depth.

CR: Skin Deep by Timothy Hallinan on my Kindle.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Looking forward to watching the video a little later, but just wanted to say that I agree with you about the raw stuff. Sometimes I may have to go after it with a meat hook, but when it's on the page, you know it.

    And so does the reader.

  2. When I first began writing seriously, my cps used to tell me I could make a certain scene better. What they were saying was that I needed to go deeper.

    So I'd sit there,tears running down my face, a wind rushing through my insides because I was completely exposed, and write. Eventually, I'd pull myself together, set the scene aside and come back to it later. Lo and behold, the scene that had been rather clinical was vibrating.

    OT: Bourban ball bowl is chilling in the fridge. Getting ready to make a roll out cookie dough.