Isn’t that what all creative writers want … to have crafted a passage so powerful and compelling that the reader physically trembles at the emotional memory or the sudden insight triggered by the words on the page.
The first time I heard that phrase was last week in a workshop run by one of my fellow trekkers in Nepal. A full-time teacher of creative writing, Yasmina has taken on the daunting task of getting each member of the trekking group to share his or her experience in written form. Many in the group have little experience with creative writing and struggle with how to even start to record their thoughts and feelings.
Yasmina walked us through a series of exercises that were thought-provoking even for an experienced writer. But when she threw out that phrase— “a shiver of recognition”—as the goal of our scribbling, it seemed a moment of synchronicity.
I was meant to be there.
I was meant to be there because my “job” for the foreseeable future is to complete the final draft of my novel, A FITTING PLACE. I’ve had great encouragement from beta readers, who connect with my characters and love the plot. But as Yasmina’s phrase echoed in my brain, I knew what is still missing from my story. My two primary characters are interesting because they are more than a bit out of the ordinary. But if I cannot write their out-of-the-ordinary story in a way that causes my readers to have that shiver of recognition, I should stop now.
I will not stop. I will write it so that my readers tremble. The question is how do I do that.
And what about those of you who are writers? Do you struggle with that “how”?