Saturday, September 25, 2010

Do you remember?

Whether you're writing YA or another genre, do you remember what *it* felt like? *IT* could be anything. So many great stories make us FEEL. They evoke emotions in the very core of us as a reader; emotions like fear, joy, love, anxiety, etc.  As writers, we need to remember (or imagine) how circumstances caused us to feel and then translate that into words. Can you do that?

For example, today my sixteen-year-old son drove me around for the first time EVER! Okay, now as an adult, that was a pretty interesting experience, but as an AUTHOR, it was an amazing experience. Why? Because it was his first time driving a stick-shift.

Do you remember what THAT felt like? We can laugh about it now, but put yourself back into the shoes of the teenager stalling the car in the middle of the intersection for the first time. Talk about emotional! Then, don't just feel the emotions, but go further. Same intersection, and you stalled again! And again! Panic? Fear? Anxiety?

Did your heart race? Throat tighten? Stomach sour? Teeth clench? Describe it. Show it. But, first, remember it.

What was your most emotional (or one of the top ten) moments of your teenage years? Can you still remember it vividly? Why?


  1. One of my emotional moments was just like you described-- stalling at an intersection in a stick shift. Those moments are so important to writing for young adults! Thanks for sharing.

  2. My top five teenage moments:

    1. Hitting number one in our grade's top ten the first time after beating number two by 20%.

    2. When my date picked me up for prom

    3. When I walked out of school the last time

    4. First day at University

    5. Getting my license after five attempts...

  3. Mmmm, I think I have far too many. I was a pretty dramatic, emotional teenager. Thanks for reminding me about mining my own memories for character emotion.

  4. Shallee - yup. I stalled so many times! And, it's interesting to me, how vividly I can remember the feelings, the location, and the car.

    Misha - a top five list. AWESOME. I should do that. I do NOT remember walking out of school the last time. Hmm. What does that mean?

    Pam - yes! We have a huge resource right in our own brains - - that is, if we can remember! ha.

    Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  5. Found you from Elana's Great Blogging Experiment - couldn't resist visiting another "Margo"!!!

    Oh my gosh do I remember that first week learning to drive a stick shift! I remember at one point I was trying to turn the car around and I got so flustered that I shut the car off, got out (in the middle of the road) and made my dad drive me home.

  6. This is a great post - if you can't remember what it felt like, you shouldn't be writing it. Two of my most memorable moments were when I got a scholarship to college and my first (and last) time behind the wheel of a car.

  7. Margo and Ishta - - oh my! Memories! Crazy, eh? I challenge each of you to write those stories out about driving and let me put them up on my blog as a guest post!

    PUH-LEASE?! That would be super cool.