Monday, June 15, 2015

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, June 15, 2015 10 comments
Every season comes with special challenges for writers. In summer, it's often kids home from school, friends and family visiting, and time away for family vacation that can destroy your writing routine.

But what if time away from the keyboard could be as useful to your craft as the hours of "butt in chair"? The hours you spend out in the world can indeed be a creative gift to you, putting you in new places with access to new experiences. In particular, you have wonderful access to the laboratory of human emotion. You just have to pay attention.

People-watching is the best way to gain an understanding of how real people express their feelings. Observe and record, and you'll never be at a loss for how to represent your characters in your fiction-- without resorting to tired cliches.

Do this haphazardly, however, and it won't be as useful an exercise. Organization is truly key.

With these issues in mind, I created a tool that writers of any genre can use to develop their own "emotions bible" in their own authorial voice. It is based on an exercise used by method actors: observing and journaling expression, gesture, carriage, stance, motion in order to better embody it on stage.

Emotions in the Wild: A Writer's Observational Journal contains over 200 pages of guided journaling exercises to help you record your observations of how real people express thirty nine different emotions. Once completed, the journal can serve as your go-to source for creating realistic dialogue and facial and body language that is uniquely yours.  You can use it again and again on any fiction project.

Tuck the journal in your bag and make use of any and every opportunity to observe emotion, whether you're stuck in line at the grocery store, waiting for your child at swim lessons, sitting in a doctor's waiting room, or lounging on the beach or at the pool. Watch your emotional vocabulary grow, you productivity soar, and your reliance on cliches fade away,

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Purchase the paperback from CreateSpace / Amazon (US) / Amazon (UK)

Where will summer take you? How might your writing benefit from observation research?

10 comments:

  1. Love it! Thanks for creating this book, Laurel!

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    1. Thanks, Tyrean! Glad you found it a useful tool.

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  2. I love this idea! Thanks, Laurel.

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    1. Thanks. This kind of research has helped me a lot with dialogue scenes in particular, so I don't end up with "talking heads."

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  3. This is so cool! What a great idea! I'm going to check it out on Amazon pronto. I just have one question about the binding. Is it bound like a normal paperback? Is it easy to write in?

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    1. I designed it with lots of space to write yet still be pocket-sized. It is "perfect bound"--a printer's term for glue binding. I've used a proof copy and found I could write fine without cracking the binding.

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  4. Very true! Living can give us loads of 'butt-in-chair' productive time, but if we don't harness it properly it's wasted. Okay, I really love what you've done here, Laurel. Thanks so much and congrats! I'll go check it out now.

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    1. I think we moms especially can get discouraged that we're stuck schlepping kids to activities when we'd rather be at the computer. This tool is meant to make the most of the gift of sports practices, orthodontist appointments and the like. The waiting time can be redeemed doing observation research.

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  5. Wow, this is pretty much the best idea! I can definitely see myself using this. I do think about things that I see when I'm out and about, but I either don't write them down, or I jot it on a sticky note and lose it. I like the organization aspect. Congrats on the book!

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    1. Thanks, Shelley. It's a tool I wish I'd had for a long time, so I figured others might like it, too.

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