By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine
Where do you prefer to write? Is it in a room with a window, desk, office equipment and books around you? Perhaps you prefer to write outside, sitting on your deck looking at nature. Some people prefer to sit on a beach and write, listening to the waves as they come rolling in and hear the seagulls as they fly in the air, then dive into the ocean for food.
What if you were sitting down, overlooking plush greenery with a waterfall cascading into a pool of blue water.
Could you write there?
This is the La Fortuna Waterfall in Costa Rica. The question, could you write there is important. There is another question that likewise is just as important. What could you write there? Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Fantasy?
For me, I couldn’t write there. I would be mesmerized at the sound of the water pouring into the pool and would become too relaxed. I would not want to think about anything or anyone nor do anything.
Yet, I know authors who could write master pieces seeing this, being there, and hearing all the sounds.
However, if I were not sitting up there looking down, but was on the ground––moving through the bushes, hearing the sound of rushing water, watching where I step, swatting insects, praying I don’t step on a snake or run into a spider web . . . then I could write. Why? Because I would not be a bystander looking on, I would be down in the trenches, so to speak; part of it.
If you’ve never experienced being scared, how can you share what that feels like? You would have to write what you think it feels like or what you heard someone say it felt like or what you read in other books.
If you’ve never loved, how can you explain love to someone else? Feelings are real, in the sense that we experience them in the moment they occur. Then remember them afterwards, even though through the years many will fade.
Would it not be great, if we could then take those feelings, and enclose them in a jar, then when we need a particular feeling in our writing, we find the jar with the feeling, unscrew the lid, pull it out and sprinkle it on the paper. Since we can’t, we have to dig deep into our being; pull back the films hiding the feelngs. Some of us are better than others at burying our feelings.
But once you have the layers peeled back, then the feelings can jump onto the page and enter your character––their feelings about fear, love, anger, and hurt. This is where your reader is drawn into your character, feels what they are feeling, becomes connected. The reader can picture in their mind what your character sees. They can experience walking through the bushes, hearing the falls, afraid they might come upon a spider or a snake.
There is nothing more fulfilling for a reader than to be totally immersed in the book they are reading. This is what every author wants for their reader.