Finding a Better Word by Debra H. Goldstein
This week, I’ve been taking an excellent Guppy Dramatic Tension course taught by none other than our own Linda Rodriguez (who really goes the extra mile for her students). Although life has interfered with my “performance” on some of the assignments, her concepts have really hit home.I now find myself searching everything to go beyond plot for key emotional words and hints, emotional consequences, and getting into the psych of my individual characters and their interaction with the other characters from a new perspective. It is humbling to see how much I don’t know and to wonder how I will ever absorb even a small aspect of what she is teaching, but it has helped me to understand why I think Linda’s books are so good.
Emotions and their consequences play a big role in writing and in life. Choosing the right words conveys to readers what is going on in an author’s head and in the story. As I’m writing this blog, another horror story of death and tragic injuries occurring in Manchester, England is flashing across my TV set. I don’t usually write political pieces, but today I condemn those who caused this incident and the others like it. My heart goes out to those who were enjoying concerts, vacation trips, or other activities in peace only to be caught up in moments of terror.
Using what I’ve already learned in class about words that produce dramatic tension, I think I can characterize what is going through my head: I am angered, saddened, disgusted, fearful, and surprised. It shows through agitation, amazement, despair, depression, disapproval, frustration, frightened, threatened, and anxiousness. The consequences as I travel and look around me in the future will be a loss of innocence replaced by attitudes of suspicion, skepticism, aversion, and behaviors reflecting being powerless and vulnerable.
Is this what I want my children to see? Is this the world I want them to live in? We all dream that the next generation will have things easier and better, but words like happy, joyful, and hopeful have been replaced by reality. It sucks.