Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Taking the audience for a ride

Though writing is all about the conveying of emotion, there is a fine line before you fall off the precipice into melodrama. There is nothing mellow about it: the intensification of sentiment becomes overbearing and the warmth turns into a searing rage at the audacity of the author. One can only pull the heartstrings so far before they snap, and anything in the way is cut to pieces.

Drama is intense by its nature, often dealing with a character’s inner conflict and how it begins to affect others. In literature, drama is very much an elastic thing and you can stretch it quite far. But this only makes the backlash that much worse when it reaches the breaking point.

Readers love a tragedy, even when it brings them to tears. But the emotional roller coaster must be a well-timed and enjoyable experience. When the sadness becomes oppressive, the most ardent of drama seekers will demand to be let off.

Lovers of literature have a desire to suffer the hardships inherent in the reading of a tale. They want the author to take them on a ride. The ups and downs are all part of the fun. But they don’t want to be run into the ground.

There is that moment of anticipation, when the story begins to unfold. The momentum builds and the reader plummets through all of the twists and turns, leading to the climax. Sometimes they are taken for a loop, but they always want to be right-side up when the car coasts to a stop.

For there comes a time when the ride is over; was it fun or frustrating? Did they lose their inhibitions or just their lunch? Did they scream with excitement, or wail in despair? And the most important question to ask is this: would they want to ride again?   

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