Tag Archive for: dramatic tension

Finding a Better Word

a Better Word by Debra H. Goldstein

This week, I’ve been taking an
excellent Guppy Dramatic Tension course taught by none other than our own Linda
Rodriguez (who really goes the extra mile for her students). Although life has
interfered with my “performance” on some of the assignments, her concepts have
really hit home.

I now find myself searching
everything to go beyond plot for key emotional words and hints, emotional
consequences, and getting into the psych of my individual characters and their
interaction with the other characters from a new perspective. It is humbling to
see how much I don’t know and to wonder how I will ever absorb even a small
aspect of what she is teaching, but it has helped me to understand why I think
Linda’s books are so good.

Emotions and their consequences play
a big role in writing and in life. Choosing the right words conveys to readers
what is going on in an author’s head and in the story. As I’m writing this
blog, another horror story of death and tragic injuries occurring in
Manchester, England is flashing across my TV set. I don’t usually write
political pieces, but today I condemn those who caused this incident and the others
like it. My heart goes out to those who were enjoying concerts, vacation trips,
or other activities in peace only to be caught up in moments of terror.

Using what I’ve already learned in
class about words that produce dramatic tension, I think I can characterize
what is going through my head: I am angered, saddened, disgusted, fearful, and
surprised. It shows through agitation, amazement, despair, depression,
disapproval, frustration, frightened, threatened, and anxiousness. The
consequences as I travel and look around me in the future will be a loss of
innocence replaced by attitudes of suspicion, skepticism, aversion, and
behaviors reflecting being powerless and vulnerable.

Is this what I want my children to
see? Is this the world I want them to live in? We all dream that the next
generation will have things easier and better, but words like happy, joyful,
and hopeful have been replaced by reality. It sucks.