Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Another Fresh Air post. NPR seems to be my main exposure to news these days. Fresh Air, BBC World News, The World, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

Anyway, Terry interviewed a woman who wrote a book about how memory works. She talked about pain memory. With physical pain, as a survival technique, we can remember that we felt pain and even that it was bad or not, but we don't experience the pain again. But with emotional pain, we can experience it again. To the point that it can be debilitating.

Which could be why if we don't know or care about a character, they're physical danger may mean nothing to us. But if we are emotionally involved, then it matters. Not because we identify with the pain, but with the emotional impact of that pain on the character. I've heard it time and again in the critique group. A couple writers had a penchant for introducing a character and then killing him off. The reaction by the readers? Eh.

And, moreover, it is probably why writing strong emotions can be hard for so many writers--myself included. Feeling the same pain as your characters isn't fun. May also be why writing romance (from basic longing glances to erotica) is so popular. If you're going to re-experience an emotion.......


Ali said...


Gotta love that vicarious living aspect to stories.

Mishell said...

How very true. Which gets me to thinking about writing as a way to release your own pain. Perhaps this is why blogs have become so popular, as well. I mean, they're an emotional release for many people. (Not me, of course. I have the emotional range of a napkin, but some people-you know.) Anyway, back to point. I've noticed that blogs tend to fall into one of the following five catagories:
1. Informational
2. Hey, look at what I did!
3. Isn't that hillarious?
4. Wouldn't you like to love me, at least for one night?
5. I want you to feel the pain of my life.

(Of course, all of our group falls into the informational catagory as is only right for geniouses of our caliber--did I spell all that rite?)

Oz, the Mad said...

It's speleld "klibr".