Monday, November 7, 2011


I spent the last three days in Story Masters Workshop listening to the wisdom of Donald Maass, James Scott Bell and Chris Vogler. So many of their ideas and observations resonated with me, it will take a thorough review of my notes and a lot of thinking to process what I learned.

On Friday one point especially hit home. Bell talked about what he calls Heart Heat and quoted Robert Frost: "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader." He said the writer has to "see it, feel it, trust it." Sometimes I think we work so much on craft, we forget that the purpose of craft is to employ the best tools to evoke an emotional response in the reader--love, hate, caring, disgust, indignation, empathy, fear. But first, we must make ourselves vulnerable and feel those emotions without filters or reserve. And that's a very scary thing to do.

In cinema there are great scenes that no matter how many times you see them, they never lose their emotional power. CASABLANCA has so many of these, but the ending always chokes me up.

What books or movies have evoked powerful emotions for you? What makes you connect with a character or a story?


Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lark,
I wept at the end of Chinatown because evil, damn it, prevailed.

Like you, I'm a Casablanca fan.

Jeanna Thornton said...

Lark, I am moping, thinking, feeling...after drinking from the fire hose for four days. I came away with the exact same thing...emotion sells. we must let it flow! jink