Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is the power behind the written word, and why?

I’m sure you’ve all experienced it…you’re reading a romance or a si-fi or a news article and you’re suddenly overwhelmed by the words you read. The words cause you to react with anger, tears or laughter…why? They’re just words…aren’t they…or are they?

Is there an energy that we can’t see that attaches itself to the words we as authors write? And how is it that this energy can stay attached to reach everyone who reads the words?

I remember hearing a speaker at a writers convention say she kept reading a manuscript over and over trying to figure out what was wrong with a story she was reading, the grammar was perfect, the pacing was awesome, the prose were great, she even liked the H&H…but she wanted a reason to reject the manuscript.

Why, you ask? Well, this editor went on to say there was something about the book she couldn’t put her hands on. As she studied the story she finally realized what it was that made her want to reject the book…it was the author.

She remembered talking to the author during a pitch and even though the author appeared happy and was very nice, the editor remembers feeling negative Vibs from the author….like an inner anger or depression, and it was this emotional chip that had somehow invaded the author’s story of love and romance. The author’s inner gloominess had somehow attached itself to the words in her book. It was between the lines but it was there. So much so the editor was overwhelmed by depression while reading the book of romance and adventure. The editor realized she was experiencing that very same heavy feeling she’d had while sitting with this author during the pitch session.

Sad thing is; the editor knew the book was basically good. It was a printable book. With some hard editing she knew they might even be able to knockout the negativity from the author that permeated between the lines of the book…and she knew it could possibly make money. The only problem was…she didn’t want to have to work with an author that suffered with such an inner depression it would overpower everything she wrote.

So…this bit of interesting news got me to wondering, yes, you all know me by now, I’m always thinking! Though the book was an adventure romance without a depressing scene in the story…how did the author’s personal inner depression overpower the words in her book?

Are our emotions more physical than we know? How is when I write, “Billy looked at Mary. Cherishing her small hand in his, he caressed her beautiful with his eyes.” and have an editor experience a negative feeling while reading it?

We’ve all said it…some of us more emotional author’s may have even screamed it – “I can’t write! After the day I’ve had with my mother-in-law and two kids…how can I write a love scene!”

Is this our sub-conscious mind making sure we don’t pass on a negative feeling in our words to our readers? If we don’t work through our negativity…will our readers pick up on this in our books?

Is this why agents and editors say…write what you know? Do they really mean…write what you feel inside because it will come out on the page whether you intend it or not?

I’m curious…what do you think?
Hugs

39 comments:

A man called Valance said...

This is pretty deep, Hawk. I'll have to think on this one. Might take a couple of days or so, but I'll be back. Promise.

By the way - Thanks for all the smiles you give me with your porch participation and responses. I'm still grinning at 'walks away to wash face and mouth, hell my whole body in the river near by.'

Jes' Mystical Treasures said...

Hawk,
What can I say,you hit the head on the nail every time. I do believe what one feels will come out in their work...and I find it to be very true.
When making products, I'm very carful about my mood because it will come out in the project.I make sure to put on Love themes by Berry White, the man of Love. For love is what the world needs...Oh and Mr. Valances porch doesn't hurt neather...it's a good place to rest a while with positive energies.
Good food for thought.
Jes

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Mr. V! (((hugs)))

Can't wait to hear your words of wisdom on this issue, Mr. V.

HUmmmmm, so glad you enjoyed my "mistake" and thank the Gods for the river near by! The image had you laughing did it? Hummmm, me thinkest you were laughing when you told me I was at the wrong end! ;-/

Mr. V I do believe there is a wee bit of a devil in ya'!

LOL
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

JES!!! (Muuuuwaaaaa! Big hugs and a kiss)

Hey...you know me I'm always wondering about things...just glad you enjoy me brain spitting a wee bit of it out of me head...to make room for more next week! Wait until you see next weeks blog!

Love ya!
Hawk

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hmmm...that's a lot of thinking and questions my friend. :-)

We DO leave many *footprints* in things we write and many times it's not something a writer is aware of. Absolutely words can be imbued with shadings of emotion. You have to realize, when we write about places thing, events, we have to open those inner doors to our soul, or our subconcious. That's especially true when we're writing to connect with our readers on an emotional level. We tap it in ourselves, or some form of it, and project it to what we're writing.

I've read poetry that has been a *wow* read, but still you see that the author has some depression issues, or is angry. How the words are presented and the imagery used can tell you that. You can also see the sparkle joy and effervescence of happiness running like laughter through the piece. I don't think it's that much different when reading prose.

How to change the shadows of negativity? Haven't a clue. Dan I write a love scene when life is trying to bury me in business? Most of the time, IF I'm putting myself with my H/H and leaving behind the day.

Hope you have a great week. My not so little Jake is going in for surgery tomorrow, his first one ever in 15 years. Tonsillectomy, but they are HUGE so it means a couple of days in the hospital. Fun times eh?

Hugs.

Blodeuedd said...

I am checking in cos Hawk missed me so terribly ;)

Lol, bf was at a bachelor party last night and came home late, and I could not sleep cos it was so hot inside cos for some reason Finland has been the warmest place in Europe. So we took it a bit easy today, and first now I am making the rounds. I know, I know, I was sooo missed.

Great post, but dunno, I believe that she could feel the vibes cos she had met her, but I do not think it would have worked if she hadn't met her

Liza said...

I've never really thought what mood an author might have been in as they wrote their book(s). I know there are certain books the get to me more than others...even those written by the same author. I'll think more on this and stop back by later. Will be interested to see what everyone else thinks too. Thanks for keeping me thinking Hawk.

Cecile said...

Hey honey! I had to stop by before I headed off to bed honey! And I can honestly say that you are right... we do write what we feel... So what does that say about my little short stories.... I am either always *well... in the mood, lmbo* or... I will leave that alone, lmbo!! Love ya honey!

Lori Sanders-Foley said...

A passion or lack thereof certainly comes out on the page. I also think that the vibe of the person can affect an editor's approach, certainly if the editor has met the person.

Anne Rice wrote Interview with a Vampire in about seven weeks following the untimely death of her daughter. Does the woeful mourning of the parent come through in the work? Perhaps. Certainly, there is a sense of loneliness about the work. I think the conveyance of a writer's vibe to the work would depend on the author, and the genre.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Sia,

HOW IS JAKE? I saw your comment yesterday, just didn't have time to answer it until today. But I sent me thoughts and prayers to him. How is he?

I agree with you on everything you said...you always have such an insightful way of saying things! ;-) (hugs)

You always warm this place up with your possitive ways when you come to visit!

Big hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Blodeuedd!

Of course I miss you...you use to be my first commentary every Sunday...you were always first.

Hope the BF is feeling better.

How warm is it over there right now? I think the whole world is having odd weather...even here. They say the Gulf Steam is real warm this year...their prodicting strong hurricanes for us this seasone because of it.

Thanks for stopping by honey! xoxoxo
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Liza,

Funny thing is...those authors that are published have learned how to keep their personal "emotions" out of their voice when writing...they have the talent to only allow the emotions to come through that apply to the story they write....some how they learned how to keep their persoanl issues from cropping up in their work...
It seems to be the unexperience writer that hasn't learned the craft well enough that has this problem.

Perhaps it is a learning how to control what feelings the author allows out on the paper and a new writer hasn't learned to play close to the vest yet.

Me, I tend to play way too close to the vest ... so I'm learning to reveal more of my feelings in my work.

Ah, it's all a balancing game...isn't it.

Hugs Sweetie!
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

(((HUGS)))) Cecile!!!

Darlin' I never got back to you on Sunday...I'll drop an e when I can to tell you why! xoxoxox

It's been crazy around here!

OMG...last week you had written that one piece on your blog...about memories of a lover....I knew that one came from your heart...that article was awesome! I heard your voice so clear in that piece of work! You revealed emotions from yourself that drew those same emotions out of the reader! NOW THAT'S GREAT WRITING! That's the kind of emotions the agent/editors what to read from a writer, not read between the lines and feel a writers "chip on your shoulder" or hidden anger between the words.

This week I've been judging a writers contest...lots of new writers and OMG...I had one such entry where I could feel the writer's anger behind the romantic words s/he wrote...and it was her/his word choice that reveal it...even if the words were nice sweet words...it didn't come across as romantic -

Guess this is all in learning our craft in writing...what to show in our words and what not to show...this is the difference between a published and non-published.IMHO.

HUgs sweetie!
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

LORI!

Very good point...and yes, you can see Anne's loss in that book...the little girl in the movie and the death of the little girl who had picked a Mother to die with...rmember that scene...it pulled at the heart how the mother - the little girl vamp picked - had lost her real daughter and agreed to be a vamp and become a mother to a daughter "she thought" she couldn't lose...then as the light came into the tunnel how the woman protected the child vamp. It was a great scene, and now I know what it touched me so...I didn't know Anne had lost her daughter until you told me...and now the whole scene makes sense.

I agree...a good author learns how to reveal only what needs to be revealed and she knows how to control the rest from popping up in her words.

Cyber hugs darlin'
Hawk

Vicki said...

Wow, Hawk, this is a fabulous post. Something that I hadn't really thought of. But I know when it's a bad day at work, I more often than not have to rewrite what I've written that night.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Vicki,

A lot of young writers don't realize the affect emotions have on their chosen words, and like you, have to spend a lot of time rewriting once they've clamed their mood.

Guess that's what they mean by ...the words between the lines....

I've also heard the verse...the words behind the spoken ones...for those people who lie.

There is something to all those old verses isn't there.

Hawk

Christine said...

I think who we are spills onto the pages whether we intend that to happen or not. I've been mining myself hard for this current work. I hope it appeals to an editor/agent one day, but your post is a reminder that this is such a subjective judgment.

Great post!

Ellen Brickley said...

Great post, Hawk, lots to think about!

I find when I re-read my own writing I can often trace the mood I was in - but I assumed that was because I remembered it. It's happened with friends' work too, but again I put that down to the fact I would know vaguely what they were going through at various times.

That said, it does make sense that something of our mood would seep through unless we were very careful to keep it out. . .

Anyway, I mostly commented because I spotted this news story online and thought you might be interested in it. AFAIK you'd qualify for citizenship if you wanted it, but it's an interesting idea to bring the Irish abroad back home, even for a visit: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/discount-card-plan-for-tourists-with-irish-roots-458240.html

Natascha / Ashleagh said...

Hi Hawk,

I think you're absolutely spot on with this post. Although I do agree that when you've met a person and know how they are it will influence your experience with - in this case - a manuscript. I'm curious now, to see if other people who read the same manuscript had the same experience with it, was something said about that?

When I write myself, and am in a happy mood, I just simply cannot write something bad happening to my H&H, for that I need to be able to focus on the "energy" between them a lot more and it's so much more difficult to do when you are your happy bubbly self ;-).

Hugs
Natascha

A man called Valance said...

Hello Hawk. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a perfectly respectable piece of writing fall flat, because it’s been as lifeless as an instruction manual. A negative vibe? Yeah, but I ain’t one to hang around and question the author’s state of mind. If it’s bland I move on – like any casual reader does when faced with tedium. Losing a reader is a lot easier than gaining one, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Negative energy? I reckon so, of one kind or another. If it ain’t subliminal, then it’s just plain bad.

Christine said ‘I think who we are spills onto the pages whether we intend that to happen or not.’ I agree. An author is all-powerful, playing God with the lives of his/her characters. Everything is defined on the author’s terms, and that leads me to think the author’s personality – and to a lesser extent their mood – must have some influence what they write.

A good story is more than words on a page. The success of that story relies on the silent magician, whose words cast a spell that entices, seduces, absorbs and stimulates a reader, and sweeps them heart and soul into another world. That’s the power of writing at its best. Course if the aforementioned magician were to get out of the wrong side of the bed in the morning, trip over the cat, and stub a toe, then he/she might find spell-weaving a little difficult for a while.

Tell me I’m wrong, but I reckon that’s pretty close to what you’re talking about.

And on a lighter note…

The devil in me, you say? Well, maybe I have. Always with a smile though. But you know that already, and I know it too, because you have that same streak in you. And I’m more than glad about that.

Jes – what you said about The Porch was a wonderful compliment. Thank you.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Christine!

Girl it's been forever! (((HUGS)))
YOU have been missed! BUT I know what you're doing and why you've been away! xoxox good luck and let me know how it goes every now and then!

Oh ... yes, it all falls on personal taste and luck.

So I wish you the best of both...and I hope to see you soon!

Hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Ellen!

OMG Yes...I am very interested...I'll check into this ASAP!

Thanks for turning me on to this! ((hugs)) You're such a sweetie!

If I ever get home to Ireland...I'll never leave. I promise ya' that!

Big Cyber hugs
Hawk

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Natasch!

Hey Sweetie!

You know I never thought of that...now you've got me brain thinking again...I have an idea for a future blog posting! ;-)

So keep a close eye on me...ya' know us sneaky Irish lass' always love to surprise ya'! ;-D

Hugs
Hawk

Vicki said...

Totally right Hawk. Now I don't write when it's been a crazy day. I'll get more words and much better words on days that calmer. :)

I've never heard the verse about the words behind the spoken ones, but it's true. Knowing when someone tells a lie can often be heard in the tone of what they say and actions as well.

Miss you bunches girl...you've been in my thoughts lately.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Well, well, well Mr. V!

My cowboy has shown another side of himself with such words of insight into the craft of writing...fess up...where did you learn all this?

I know from your blog you are a wonderful and creative author...you know your voice and use it beautifully...are you a published author hiding behind this awesomely created cowboy image? Or does this talent of yours comes from your days as an actor?

I agree with all you said...100%. Careful Mr. V you're showing there's more under that cowboy hat than just a handsome face.
;-)

***The success of that story relies on the silent magician, whose words cast a spell that entices, seduces, absorbs and stimulates a reader, and sweeps them heart and soul into another world.***

Truer words could never be written! But you have me wondering how a simple cowboy knows so much about the magician's talent of writing.

ROTFLOL! ****That’s the power of writing at its best. Course if the aforementioned magician were to get out of the wrong side of the bed in the morning, trip over the cat, and stub a toe, then he/she might find spell-weaving a little difficult for a while.***
Interesting comparison! One might think you a magician! ;-)


***Tell me I’m wrong, but I reckon that’s pretty close to what you’re talking about.*** It is exactly what I was saying, just not as beautifully as you have!

***And on a lighter note…
The devil in me, you say? Well, maybe I have. Always with a smile though. But you know that already, and I know it too, because you have that same streak in you.***
ME???? Oh no, not me! (Evil grin)

***And I’m more than glad about that.***LOL...happy to hear this, Mr. V. ;-)

You do know how to make me smile!

Now, when are you going to give us girls the low down on who you really are?

Hugs
Hawk

Blodeuedd said...

Hawk
Dreadfully warm..for May, so we are just going along in a haze ;) But it was almost 30 C one day, and it had been around and over 25 for like a week now. For a week in July that could be normal, but for May, no way. Something about warm winds from Russia so yay for that. But of course the temp will drop soon with 15 degrees.

Next time I will be first again mouwahahahaha ;)

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Blodeuedd,

OMG That is warm! Odd weather across the world this year.

Where I'm at in Florida...we had the coldest winter on record and we went from this freezing temps right into the heat of summer...93 degrees. A little over 33 Celsius. Crazy weather!

Warm winds from Russia!Didn't know they had warm winds in Russia...LOL...just kidding.

Hugs darlin'
Hawk

A man called Valance said...

Thanks Hawk. No, I’m no author, and I’m no actor, either. But I’ve served time on writing websites, and rubbed shoulders with the beautiful people. Maybe a little knowledge rubbed off, too.

‘Now, when are you going to give us girls the low down on who you really are?’

One day, maybe.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Well Mr. V...it's a warm spring day, the sun is out and the sky is bluer than I've ever seen it...it's a day for a good tale...perhaps a story about a stranger in a cowboy hat sitting on a porch would be nice...

Oh, I brought smokes for you!

Hugs
Hawk

A man called Valance said...

Yup, it's a warm one. 'Smokes' you say? Hmm - you can be mighty persuasive.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Mr. V,

LOL...and that's not all, I was going to surprise you with these donuts and coffee too!

We've got chocolate, maple and glaze covered donuts with nut crumb, coconut and jelly filled as well as a few custard ones tossed in with two old fashioned ones!
You get first pick! I'll pour the java!

:-D
Hugs
Hawk

A man called Valance said...

Hell, you got my mouth watering now. For two donuts I'd sing like a canary. OK Hawk, you win. Pass me a donut. What do you want to know?

Houston A.W. Knight said...

ROTFLOL...

LOL I knew I could get ya' with those...o.k., I'm passing them over but now you've got to tell me how are you connected to writing?

If you're not a writer, and you're not an author...how did you get on a writers cyber site and why? Are you an editor? Publisher?

I love the character you are as Mr. Valance...but I read between those lines and feel a highly intelligent man there with major talent in writing...do you teach the subject?

Give me a hint. I can keep a secret.

hugs
Hawk

A man called Valance said...

Alright, for two donuts it’s a deal. I’ll talk, without the cowboy hat.

Editor? Publisher? Teacher? I’m none of those things Hawk, though I’m pleased you might think so. The writing connection started eight years ago, when the lure of a school reunion website helped me overcome a natural aversion to computers. I took to it like a duck to water, and though my typing was painfully slow, I loved breathing new life into old tales, in my correspondence with old classmates.

Thirty two years after leaving school, that little flame of creativity had been reignited. Writing was a new-found joy. I dared to dream I could write, but fearful of getting above myself, I kept a lid on such fanciful feelings. For two years I did nothing at all, then one Christmas night in 2004, I typed ‘writing’ into a search engine and happened upon something called an online writing community. ‘A warm, friendly place for aspiring writers to learn their craft,’ was a compromise that didn’t grate against my deep-rooted inhibitions. It was just what I needed. Thrilled, I joined, and though I felt like an impostor in the ranks of greatness, I soon settled in.

I learned a lot about writing over the next four years. I learned a lot about people, and misplaced loyalty, too. I joined other sites, just to have a look around, but wherever I went, all I saw was people acting like people. With nobody to look up to anymore, the writing was on the wall. I’d gone as far as I could, in that environment.

And that’s it. Those are my writing credentials. That’s all there is to it, though this will tell you about my arrival in Blogsville…

http://mistervalanceporch.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20man%20behind%20the%20man


I’ll shut up now, and put the cowboy hat back on.

Well, there you are Hawk. If that don’t satisfy your curiosity, feel free to ask any question you like. Just make sure you’ve got some donuts ready.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Ah, the world of writing…I have to admit I’ve found the same experience within this small world. Sad but very true! It knocked me out of the game a few years back and then I regrouped, armed myself with a warrior’s mail shirt and amour, and learned the sword…this time I’m ready to do battle with those you talked about. I’ll be damned if I’ll let them push me out of my dream.

They can backstab all they want – I’m fighting back. They can knock me down, but I will get up. I will be the last warrior standing.

I can understand why you didn’t push to be published. The writer’s world is not a nice world.
I wonder if publisher know what aspiring authors really have to go through even before we get to their doors?
This is not the first time I’ve heard talented authors tell me the same story you did as to why they never pushed to be published…and for the very same reason you said – Disillusionment –

Now, that being said…I have found a few talented, wonderful and caring people who happen to be writers or reviewers…some of those have come here to visit with you as well and there are a few others I adore that haven’t come to visit…but they’re getting ready for Nationals and are pressed for time, but they are that hand full of talented and creative authors and reviewers I told you about finding…a needle in the hay stack…but I did find the needles! It wasn’t easy but as you can see my girls are kind and good hearted…they are the “GEMS” of this writing world and I pray each of them will become published with all my heart…writers/reviewers they are…but they HAVE HEARTS! They are TRUE friends.

It’s very sad that you decided publication is not for you, because a lot of people will never get to read your brilliant, magnificently creative stories! You are a man of GREAT WRITING ABILITIES! And, I feel sad the world will never see it except for the handful of us who were lucky enough to find your porch!

If you ever change your mind…know I will be there for you as a real friend…I’ll have your back. And if I ever get my foot in the door of publishing…I will be talking to you again about this…sometimes friends can help friends and make the climb easier. I plan to do this for any of my girls that don’t beat me to publishing and I will do this for you as well if you change your mind…because this is what real people, nice people, friends do for each other.

Until then, I fight this war alone. But I will make it through all the battles and to the doors of publishing one day…but I have to thank you for this wonderful porch to rest my weary warrior bones at from time to time…a tranquil place to mend my wounds before the next fight.

Thank you for this peaceful, creative, funny and beautifully written place to sit. It does a soul good.

Hugs
Hawk

A man called Valance said...

Thanks Hawk. There’s much I could say on this subject, if it didn’t weary me so much. It all boils down to two things – I hope one day you’ll make it. Me, I’m happy where I am, in the only place I want to be.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Mr.V,

It's good to hear you are happy where you are...it's the only place to be in life - the spot of happiness. And for most people that isn't an easy place to find.

Cheers to you Mr. V!

Thank you for the kind words for my dream...

Hawk

A man called Valance said...

.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

(((HUGS))) Mr. V!

Hawk