Wednesday, August 5, 2015
How a Writer Uses Description
by Lydia Nolan
It is not an easy thing to feel an emotion like desperation, especially when it is coupled with having a need for someone to be there with you, as if your insides are shrinking deeper inside you toward a painful black hole, like a suction from a vacuum that does not let go of what it is trying to suck inside itself.
The Black Hole of Need
And yet, you have to not let that someone know of your need of her or him, because you have before and they do not understand such a vacancy inside. You have to endure that black hole sense of suction that almost nearly feels like it will suck you inside out, or maybe into some kind of abyss. It makes you ashamed, and it makes you feel like a baby needing its mother's milk as the stomach pangs grow stronger; or a wounded animal wishing it could get up and run, but instead it has to wait for the hunter to put an end to it in death.
It is painful, and also degrading to some extent, to need so much. And yet, in some way or another, all of us have wanted or needed someone so bad that we say 'it hurts." It does hurt, literally.
It hurts because we are longing and hoping in some miraculous way that the person we long for will come and provide that sense of comfort we get when that special person comes. When they are there you want to embrace them and hope they will bring us a feeling of safety, protection, happiness, fullfillment, and comfort, again.
But you cannot ask for such a thing because some people are worse in this need than others, and this need can make that special someone feel afraid of being sucked into your black hole experience, and they may not need you as much as you need them.
Comparing the Character's Inside Emotional State to Physical Things
It is not unlike the idea of drugs. Drugs bring into your mind a state of euphoria. So does liquor for that matter; so does smoking for some people, or food, and even sex for some. All of these comfort-induced drug, or drug-like activities can elevate according to the need factor in that person who experiences that emptiness; these inducements help to make a person feel a saturation and filling of that suction going on inside them.
Those of us who do not need so badly cannot comprehend such an emotional state inside us, as this, so we look to others who can describe such a state to us.
A Writer's Task is to Make the Reader Grow Empathy
Some of us merely scowl at smokers or overeaters, or near holidays we might just pity the drunk on the street, or we will look in horror at the heroin addict downtown, sleeping on the ground while we go about our work or business.
The people who look condescending to the needy ones are those that have perhaps never felt that hole inside them, or at least not so badly, or for very long. Perhaps they were fortunate enough to have loving parents, or someone who would always be there when they needed help, or if they were hungry, or if they needed affection when they failed at some test or challenge.
But other people long for such comfort so badly it hurts always inside them, and they feel the pull of that suction at every hour in every day, and they can think of almost nothing else but to fill that void.
How Do Writers Describe Well Enough?
Okay. Now, remember: you are a Writer, and you need to describe a person who has such a need. How do you do that? Did my description work to make you FEEL it? That is the challenge of a Writer. The Writer must be ever cognizant of each character's actual emotional behavior that drives them to do what they do. If you cannot describe your character good enough, you will have a hard time describing WHY he or she does what he or she does. Good luck.