Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Big Goodbye

No, I'm not going anywhere. But your characters are in today's workshop!

The Big Goodbye…creating scenes of leave-taking

It's important to remember that people leave all the time, whether its the simple run to the grocery store, a son leaving for the military...or someone dying in your arms.

These are all scenes where goodbyes happen. The pathos one wants to create depends on the level of emotional engagement you want from the reader at that particular moment. A simple goodbye kiss as a husband leaves for work can have little or no impact on the reader....until he doesn't come home again, having died in an auto accident or a shooting at the local convenience store.

It's the author's job to decide the level of emotional import a scene has...and then craft it accordingly. It's equally important to remember that every scene must move the plot or the character development forward in some way.

Leave-taking could mean a son going off to college or two people saying farewell for a time or for forever.


Either choose two characters you've already created and write a scene where they must part, or, if you have no work in progress for this activity, create new characters and a new story that starts with a leave-taking. Decide the level of emotional involvement you want from your readers (from a shoulder-shrug to openly weeping) and aim for that in your scene.

Remember what you learned in the workshop on the stages of grief. Some of that may apply to your scene as well.

As always, writing is what I do for a living. A donation helps to keep the homefires burning and food on the table. Thanks!

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