Cupcake Aficiando and Writer of Middle Grade Novels
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The Crying Game
I've been working on a sad scene today. My MC, 13 year-old AJ, and his mother are living with her uncle, a really great guy. But one morning, AJ gets up and finds his mother left him. She's gone. As we say in the south, she done left up out. As you might imagine, AJ's pretty broken up.
Does he cry?
I've always heard that your characters hold back their tears so the readers don't have to. But some things seem to need tears. Especially, when you're trying to show the vulnerability of a trying-hard-to-be-grown-up, thirteen year-old boy.
The question is really hitting home for me because a friend of mine lost her mother this weekend. My mom passed away almost twelve years ago, but I only have to think of how much we didn't get to do together, how much she would have loved my son...and here come the tears. Every. Single. Time.
Can you imagine writing a character that cries every time she thinks about her mother?
So I'm learning... To make our characters believable, we have to remember they're not real. They're art forms. A personality painted in words designed to elicit certain reactions from readers. And while a real thirteen year-old might bawl his eyes out if his mom abandoned him, you guys might love AJ more if he keeps it all inside.