Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for x-ray

X is for using your x-ray vision

Oh! Remember Superman and how he wouldn't use his x-ray vision for most of the things we would? Well now I want you to use yours. I know you have it  -  at least with your own manuscripts. I want you to remember to look below your words. Our words are like a skin on the body of the work. Like our own skin - our outer organ - it is often mistaken for the whole thing.

What? If my novel isn't words what is it?

It is what the words are protecting and transporting. And that my friend is emotion, insight, and intention. It has to be there or your words won't ring authentic. If we write at all we write to move others - to get them to understand what we understand, to feel what we feel, to see what we see.

When we think of our loved ones, our babies, our lovers, our friends, our family - do we think 'my oh my they have such lovely exteriors that I don't care if they are empty inside!' ? No - or not at least when we are over 14 years old (or reluctant adults holding on to a view of the world that isn't of interest to most of us).

If I feel my interest starting to flag, my eyes drooping, when I'm reading or listening to someone tell a story, I know there is a lie in there. It has ceased to be authentic. That is my x-ray vision at work. If I'm with a client (I'm a psychotherapist) I will jerk myself awake and say to the client 'hey what are you telling me? Something isn't right."  Nine times out of ten I am right. We locate the truth (usually hidden behind fear) and get it out. You must use your x-ray vision on your manuscript. When you feel bored or duped - stop and fix or at least mark it for a later fix (but if not now- when?)

So fire up your super powers of observation and x-ray your ms.  Here is Bella for no reason!


Margot Kinberg said...

You have a really strong point here, Jan! I think using x-ray vision also helps us understand our own motivations as we write. And that can helps us tell the story we really want to tell.

Susan Scott said...

Yep right on Jan thank you ...we can also develop that x-ray muscle if we are too blind to see where the story doesn't ring true. Your posts have been pointing that way all along.

Tamara Narayan said...

Maybe Bella has x-ray vision. Can't animals tell when we are upset?

Getting words to convey emotion is hard to do, but also one of my favorite things to do with words.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Jan. Good thoughts.
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Hart Johnson said...

Great way to think about this!