I know, I know. It’s supposed to be Red Pencil Thursday, but if we don’t have a volunteer who’s willing to put his/her work out there, our online critique group is dead in the water. I suspect this lull is because so many writers are head down with NaNoWriMo, which is a great way to get the first draft of your story out. But if you’ve ever thought about taking the RPT plunge, now’s your chance to jump to the head of the queue. I invite you to check out the details here.
But since today is normally given over to the writing craft, I thought I’d write a bit about making sure you give your story some shivering moments. No, I’m not talking about temperature. I’m talking about that little thrill that washes over you when a scene or a line resonates with your spirit.
My editor Leah Hultenschmidt assured me I created one in Lord of Fire and Ice (August 2012). Over the weekend, I made a final pass through the manuscript before it headed to a last look-see by the copy editor. When I turned it in, Leah told me she’d copied and saved the following because it spoke to her:
“I give you the edge of my sword, the strength of my body, the breath my life,” Brandr said, his gaze glued on the tips of her slippers peeping from beneath her hem. “If you have need of any of them, they are yours for the asking. And even if you don’t ask, they are still yours. From this day forward, you are my wife. I’ll defend what’s mine as long as there is a beating heart in my body.”
Does this passage send little glory-bumps along your spine? I confess, it does mine. I think the reason is because it graphically presents the devotion, the faithfulness, single-mindedness we all hope for from our mates.
When I was singing professionally one of the roles I worked on was Monica from Menotti’s The Medium. In her big aria, she sings all the things she wishes her mute lover would say to her and it reduces her desperate longing. That’s what I try to do in my stories.
So that’s what I encourage you to do with your work. What do you want from a lover? What is the cry of your heart? Chances are your characters want that too. And so do your readers.
Give it to them.
Now it’s your turn. Share a shivering moment from your work or from something you’re reading now.