My online critique group is on a mission. We all want to ramp up the emotion in our WsIP (Works In Progress). To that end, we are taking classes or reading lecture notes from Margie Lawson.
Margie is a psychologist, among other things. A practicing psychologist. Who better to explore emotion in literature? I was a psychology major myself, and I spent time working with kids with emotional issues–at the time they were labeled SED, Socially Emotionally Disturbed. Fascinating stuff. Bringing emotion to a manuscript is a fun extension of previous studies, even if I’m not writing about SED issues or characters.
Margie’s instruction is extensive. She teaches graduate students, so she’s accustomed to serious study and deep exploration. Again, I find it fascinating. I’m enthralled. I already contemplate the deep emotion that governs the behavior of my characters. It’s no surprise that I love that part of story development. But I’m not sure I’ve been able to convey that emotion on the surface of the story. The deep emotional motivation is never blatantly stated in the story, only the effects. I think Margie’s techniques are building a bridge between the underlying character development and the surface story.
The best part of all this is that my critique group is doing this together. We’re all on the same page with our goals. We know what each of us is trying to accomplish, and we can not only say whether it’s working or not, but we can make relevant suggestions for improvement.
To be part of a group so determined to improve our individual skills is wonderfully motivating. It’s a strong group to begin with–there’s not a weak writer in the bunch–but there’s a strong and constant push to improve.
I am grateful every day for my critique group, and I feel oh-so-lucky to have found them. It wasn’t easy.
Categories: Children's writing