G … is for gratification

G[1]  is for gratification. You might be wondering what gratification has got to do with my chosen theme of writing. Please read on and allow me to explain.

When we first write a story, however long, it may be ultimately for others to read, but we write it primarily to give us satisfaction. As we refine that same story, through careful and ongoing editing, we are preparing it for other people to enjoy.

Why then have I encompassed my multiple sensations with gratification?

In my own writing, I’ve occasionally found a tear come to my eye – no, not because the writing was so bad! I have felt the emotion of my character; be it love, pain, joy or whatever else. Sometimes, depending on the passage (pardon the pun), I’ve been sexually aroused, because I’m at one with my character. I’ve felt anger, disappointment, frustration, happiness; all through the depth of feeling of a character.

When an occasion arises, and I don’t feel any of these emotions, I know the writing isn’t working; it isn’t good enough.

Is this always the case for me?

Yes, be it poem, short story, or novel. I must feel a connection, an empathy with my characters. If I don’t feel it through the written word, through my own creation, then how is anybody else supposed to feel it? They will not.

The reward for the reader is to feel they have been entertained, and they have the satisfaction of knowing that the author worked towards that goal.

For the writer, the reward comes when there is a positive review of the writing. Okay, some of us may now be seeing a small cash reward too, and that does feel pretty special; to be paid for your writing.

In summary, gratification is an appropriate word in my theme, because when the writing is to a good enough standard, the result is mutual satisfaction for writer and reader.

Thank you for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with thoughts on ‘H

 

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7 comments on “G … is for gratification

  1. What a marvellous insight into the writing process and what it means to writer and reader alike; I would write more in this response but right at this moment I’ve had to remove my gloves to type on a smartphone screen and my fingers are getting cold as I make my way back down from Ben Starav (a bloody big hill in the author of this post’s homeland)… It might be ‘God’s Own’ country but judging from today’s weather here, I get the distinct feeling he’s not always too keen on sharing it.
    Another great post Tom, my favourite one so far of the AtoZchallenge…

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    • Thank you for another complimentary response Paul. I’m thinking about stacking my A to Z into a ‘page’ when we reach the end of the month. I would do it now, but I’m having issues keeping up with the emails, comments and getting to everybody’s sites to read and comment.
      You enjoy those lovely, steep, cold mountains up there mate. It’s one of the few areas of our world that hasn’t been totally destroyed by senseless development. The only things that develop up there are exposure and frostbite. Till later.

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      • Cheers for that timely reminder about exposure and frostbite, I’ll think back to it no doubt sometime tomorrow! Still, a pair of Bridgedale socks and way too expensive Meindl boots did ensure my toes didn’t get too cold, and several higher up layers of clothing ensured even more precious extremities didn’t suffer unduly either; I wish I’d had the same love and enthusiasm for this outdoor lark thirty seven years ago, and I might well have done a lot better on those early ‘exercises’ rather than it coming as a very nasty shock to my hitherto comfortable sensibilities.

        Anyhow, back to your post – I’d already taken it for granted your A to Z posts would warrant a page of their own, or at the very least, a place in the Writer’s Resources section? In all seriousness though, achieving that initial and ongoing connection with your writing really is the key to ensuring your reader’s connection to it too, as well as any ensuing success it might have. Looking forward to see what you come up with for H…?

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  2. I’m currently out of the country at the polar extreme of cold, misty mountains and unspoiled natural environments and find myself longing for a little cold air; ac units prove to be a poor second cousin to the real thing!

    As for your post, Tom, I have to say that I felt a surge of relief when I read it! When I found myself recently moved to tears over something I’d written, I wondered if a) that was normal and b) was it ‘allowed’? I totally relate to your comments on feeling a connection, having empathy with your character. When I first started writing, I sometimes wrote a character, destined to appear in third person on the page, in the first person, ‘translating’ to first person later. For me, that was a way to see, hear, touch, taste, fear, love, mourn as that character; that was how I found I could make a connection when I found it missing. It’s not a technique I have used for a while, but would certainly do so in the future if I needed. I also often sit with my eyes closed in front of my laptop, not falling asleep, but stepping into shoes that aren’t mine, sneaking along in the footsteps of a character for a little while. Once I have breathed their breath, their story flows more easily onto the page.
    And you are right, the sense of ‘gratification’ once that happens is only equaled by a reader making a connection, empathising with those self same characters.

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  3. That first line is so important. Sometimes for practice, I’ll take one from a story or poem and then go on in my own words, my favorite from Pablo Neruda, “Tonight I can write the saddest lines….”

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    • Hi Natalie. Thank you for the visit and comment. A lot of times with short stories, I just write as much as I can straight off. I then go back through looking for the most appropriate line to replace the existing intro. I’ll get over to your place tomorrow.

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