Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Y is for Yearning

Welcome to the 2013 A to Z Challenge!

This year, I’m focusing on two themes:  Emotions and grammar,
depending on which letter we’re on each day.

Today’s an emotion day!


Y is for Yearning:  a deep longing, especially when accompanied by tenderness or sadness

I think yearning is likely at the core of every plot ever imagined.  It’s what drives the characters, their yearning for whatever it is they want or need.  It’s at the heart of every human being.  We each have our own dreams, our own desires, and we yearn for them to come true, to be made whole, to be fully realized. 

The key to making your reader accept your character’s yearning is to not only have them sympathize with his underlying belief system, but fully empathize, as well.  That which makes us each unique also forms our personal mythos, and those internal principles define not only how we perceive the world, but how we react to it and the choices we make.

So the writer must indoctrinate the reader to a certain extent, temporarily instilling the character’s ideology into the mind of reader.  For that to happen, the yearning, his choice, his desires, must make sense, or at least the author has to make it seem like it makes sense. 

I believe a strong and very close POV helps with this difficult task.  It’s why I write in first person and not third.  I deal with some pretty horrific human flaws and frailties in my novels.  Hard for most people to comprehend and commiserate with.  But if I can get the reader to live in the protagonist’s head, she’s more likely to understand where he’s coming from, to accept that’s what’s best, to hope and pray he achieves it, even yearn for it herself.

How do you make your readers understand your characters’ yearnings?      


Carrie Butler said...

I use 1st person, too. <3

T. Drecker said...

I think this is one of the most difficult things about writing. I write mostly in 3rd, but during my first round of edits, I change these more difficult parts into 1st and then switch them back into 3rd to make sure I get as close to the character as possible.

mooderino said...

I think we all have a natural inclination to want to understand things. A good thing to tap into for writers.


Sheena-kay Graham said...

Write in a way that makes my readers feel an attachment to my character. You're the second person I've read who chose this topic.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And that's why I write in third person - I do not want to be in Byron's head that much.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I write in 3rd person limited but think you can still get there with that.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I have two WIPs on the go and one is written from multiple POV in third-person, and the other is from one character's POV in first.

I enjoy the differences brought through the different viewpoints. The one in first-person just edges it for me. More personal and a better flow to the narrative.

Happy Z'ing tomorrow :)

Mark Means said...

I think first person is one of the best views for conveying yearning and/or desire. Better 'shown' and not 'told'.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I choose the POV based on how I want to story to unfold. Sometimes I have to experiment with different ones to see how the voice comes through.

LD Masterson said...

I write in multiple POVs so I can let the reader inside more than one character. It's a little harder to do in 3rd but I like doing it that way.

Bob Sanchez said...

I've written in 1st and 3rd, but prefer 3rd because it widens the scope of what I can write.

Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

I'm experimenting with first person POV in a story I'm just starting. These are some good points to ponder when writing.

JeffO said...

"How do you make your readers understand your characters’ yearnings?"

I tell 'em!

In all seriousness, I think that well-written third or omni can be equally effective in communicating a character's wants and desires and yearning.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Very hard.

Just about everything you mention is hard. Sheesh, why do we do this?



Melissa Sugar said...

Excellent post. I try to accomplish this with deep POV

Chuck said...

Nancy, what kismet! That is the same word I chose for Y. And it was with great sadness I left the idyllic island of Roatan and returned to big city life.

It must also be kismet that I used to have the same blog template you are using before I changed to the current one. Or at least it was damn near identical!

One more letter to go!! I have really enjoyed your series and still have a few posts to catch up on.

Angela Ackerman said...

I have done the same thing as H Drecker too! I find that helps me get deeper inside their head and find their voice.

One more day! You are almost there! Hurray for A to Z!