Thursday, March 13, 2008

Light as a feather, heavy as a brick

Daily Stats
Words: 1500+
Caffeine: the usual (new Starbucks at Macy's. Guy who works there makes awesome foam.)
Evil Calories: Fig Newtons (semi-evil)
Reality TV: Celebrity Apprentice

I'm a total wuss. I'm sure I miss out on a lot of amazing books because of my wussiness. For example, there's a book out right now called Hope's Child. It's the true story of a boy who was taken away from his mother and raised through the foster system. It's being hailed by critics and has won several awards. However, I would probably make it about three pages in before I curled into a little weeping ball (as I did when I read Lolly Winston's Good Grief. It was a great book, and she's an amazing writer, but it just turned me into a withering mess.)

I just simply cannot read heavy, emotionally draining books. I want funny, light-hearted, semi-poignant stories with decent romance and a jolly good ending. I know that probably makes me completely unrefined, but so be it. I get heavy and depressing every time I turn on the news. I prefer that my escapism actually makes me smile.

I take the same approach with my writing. I don't write things that push me to a place I don't want to go. I write the types of books I'd want to read. However, with the book I'm currently working on, I'm taking myself into uncharted territory because I'm writing about a death that is very significant to my MC. I'm struggling because I keep thinking, "Is she sad enough? Is she mourning enough?" Is it possible to write about a heavier topic, but still keep the tone light and funny?

2 comments:

Girl Works said...

Just think about people you know who've been through trauma or lost someone they loved. Some stay in grief forever, some re-bound with a positive attitude and their humor intact and celebrate life, knowing all too well how short it is. (Not to mention that humor is coping mechanism, just as curling up into a weeping ball is!)

So the same can be true for your character. There's really no accepted measure on grief. It's different for everyone.

But yeah, I'm with you on the emotional reading. I can't read Good Grief, no matter how well written, because I will imagine my husband dying and curl up into a weeping ball.

And hold up - your Macy's has a Starbucks?? How'd you manage that? Well done.

Jana Lubina said...

I love the emotionally-draining-slit-your-wrists-from-despair novels; but afterwards, I generally need to read something that will me give me hope in life again!

I guess it's balance.

Although, I rarely read nonfiction books about children being abused. I can't stomach them.