I read something interesting the other day about writing that connects emotionally with readers. Because of my menopause brain I can’t remember where I read it, who wrote it, or what it said specifically (helpful, I know) but the gist of it was if a writer doesn’t have an emotional connection to what they are writing, readers likely won’t either. Or, something like that.
Although I lost all the details, the general tenor of the article resonated with me. I am sometimes moved to tears when I write. Something about a turn of phrase, a subject matter, or the response of a character strikes an emotional chord in me. The article said this is a good thing. I’d always thought I was just overly emotional, irrational, and/or hungry when it happened to me.
The emotional connection cannot be forced- the result can be melodramatic, sappy drivel; the readers will see through this and be moved only to throw the book across the room or into the trash,which is not the hoped-for response. I’m not saying tears must flow in order to write heartfelt prose but if they do, don’t try to stem them. Grab a Kleenex and let the river run. If you are tempted to stop and analyze “Why is this making me cry?” – don’t overthink it – just go with it.
Of course, if you’re writing a comedy, tears might be a bad sign unless they are the result of laughing very hard. Generally speaking, you know what you’re writing about and if your emotional responses to it are appropriate. The only time this isn’t true is if you think your writing is crap. Writers are notoriously hard on themselves and thus not capable of rational judgment. If your second pair of eyes turns green and runs for the toilet, then perhaps it is crap. If they put the manuscript down, dab their eyes and heave a big sigh, chances are you’re onto something good. And real. Keep it and pass the Kleenex.