Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Stoic's Guide to Emotions

Stoicism is a term that's relatively shadowed in today's society where overshares, emotional dumps, and public displays of drama are the norm. Yes, it's absolutely acceptable to open your heart to two thousand of your closest friends on Facebook and intimately share the details of your inner angst in painstaking detail complete with pictures and of course... emoticons. 



But long before the current trend of emoting, there was stoicism. Stoicism was founded by the Greek philosopher Zeno (not by Mr. Spock). Followers of this school of philosophy ascribe to the theory that we should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity.

I recently realized that I am a closet stoic, though I have never been to Greece,  and Zeno and I are not Facebook friends, and I don't watch Star Trek. It is also very possible that many of you are closet stoics as well. (I am not speaking to Julie Lessman.)



 Imagine my surprise at this armchair diagnosis. After all, I'm Italian. Agita is my family's middle name. How did this happen you may wonder? I have my suspicions and you may as well. But nothing good can come of digging around in our genetic closet or tossing around nature versus nurture. 

The real issue here is that we are writers. While I value and embrace my stoic nature, it makes for crappy copy. Stoic characters do not a good read make. (You may quote me.)

Necessity required that I find a solution to this problem. And so, I present what I refer to as The Essential Theories of Fictional Emotion, gathered from the world's highly acclaimed sources in the field of fictional emoting. 

This is not rocket science. Oh, wait. Actually, it is. Seriously, embrace these very simple scientific principles and I promise that you too, will be emulating Scarlett O'Hara.


*Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post before you proceed.  



1. The Michael Hauge Conundrum.

"The primary goal of storytelling is to elicit emotion. You must create an emotional experience for the audience." The Six Stage Structure is the foundation to creating that emotional experience. Key point: Emotion grows out of conflict. 



2. Shelly Thacker's Big Bang Emotion Theory. 

This is a magnificently clear and simple theory. Emotion on every page. Review each page of your manuscript with a red pen and underline the emotion. If there is no emotion, you must create it.



3. Vince Mooney's Universal Laws of RPP.

“The way to get prospects to read even the longest advertising copy is to reward them for reading every step of the way.”

Mooney tells us, "Based on my research, I believe that the way to sell more books (or get your books published in the first place) is to enhance the page-by-page ‘reading experience.’ One way to quantify this experience is by the use of a Rewards-Per-Page index."

Read some of his RPP indicators here and grade your manuscript.



4. Newton's Third Law of  Physics (as applied to fiction).

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."


-Events in your story have no meaning or value, EXCEPT as they relate to your characters. 

-The value or meaning is how your characters react or have feelings about the event. 

-Events are external -> Emotional reactions are internal and/or external.

-One cannot exist without the other and they interact to move the story forward.

This law requires the writer to examine each page of their manuscript to verify that each action has a reaction!


5. The Whoopie Goldberg Ghost Theorem,

This simple theorem requires a dark room and candles. (Kidding.) But it does require channeling your characters. Channeling your characters like Oda Mae in Ghost because it:


  • eliminates two-dimensional characters
  • uncovers motivation for the characters
  • And that motivation leads to writing scenes based on those character motivations
  • It also provides deep point of view (pov)


By doing the above you take your characters to a level of connection with the reader. At this level the reader bonds with your character and cares about your character or, in the case of a villain; they are interested enough to keep reading in order to find out what happens.

Simply put, if you want the reader to invest in your characters you must elicit emotion by creating believable characters. That investment is not made simply telling them who a character is, but showing them.

Once the reader knows the character, then they will also know how a character will act or react. At this point, you have a responsibility as a writer. The reader now expects that the motivations of the character will be unique and consistent to the character you have created.

Now that you have the essentials, scroll to the bottom for a quiz. Kidding!


Are you a drama queen a stoic?  No judgment.  Leave a comment for a chance to win one of today's giveaways. Winners announced in the next Weekend Edition. Until then..live long and prosper. 
Mousepad!







And a second giveaway. Winner's choice of any 2017 Carol Award finalist release in ebook format. See those finalists here.


Two winners. Each has a choice of a mousepad or a book.






*The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. Never rely on information on this blog in place of seeking professional medical advice. This blog may cause itching, rashes, blindness and in certain cases, apathy. Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms persist. 

166 comments :

  1. I tend to be a little like Spock...logical to a fault! I can be somewhat unemotional in the fact that I don't cry at the drop of a pin, or rarely if I'm honest. And I can raise my one eyebrow to convey my confusion at the illogical humans, lol! I think that's why he was and always will be my favorite character :-) Live long & prosper indeed!

    But I do love plenty of emotion in a book and characters who are real enough to connect with. I've said this before but it merits a repeat: If you can make me FEEL in your story, you have a reader for life. If I can't connect with your story, even if it is well written, I won't finish it. I just recently tried to read a book but had to stop at less than 100 pages in for this reason. The writing was good & I had read the authors other books, but for whatever reason I simply couldn't connect with anything in that story. I felt like I was standing on the outside looking in. Thankfully, this hasn't happened too often!

    Please add my name for the contests today. Thanks so much :-)

    RIP Mr. Nimoy!

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    1. Another stoic. Live, Long and Prosper.

      Stoics in our life but not in our reading.

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  2. I'm stoic.
    Uh, I definitely don't post my private/drama on facebook. I tend to be a private person.

    And yes, Tina, I struggle w/my lack-of-emotional characters. LOL. I could have them fight a lot easier than be romantic. I really hate writing kissing and/or declaration-of-love scenes.

    I'd much rather my hero say, "lookin' good," with a head bob, then to say something poetic about the sunshine in heroine's hair and something about the ocean and her eyes...

    All 5 of these are great points. I'll come back and read them again when I'm not sleep-deprived.

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    1. Apparently, we need to form a group. With snacks. We can all sit around and not share. hahahahahahahahahahaha!

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    2. Dying laughing... because I can totally see it!

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    3. I'll bring the chips and salsa!

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    4. hahaha. I'll bring the tissues we won't use.

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    5. Hahahaha, I'm in. Maybe we can get some reading or writing in while we're busy ignoring each other.

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  3. I guess there are rare times I can be stoic, but for the most part I am emotional and where my heart on my sleeve. I don't share it on Facebook however.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. I love that you are so open and honest with your feelings... you make me smile and cry, brat!

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    2. And consider that a mixed blessing, more angst for your characters, Cindy! Angst sells. People think sex sells. But it's angst that wins every time.

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    3. Sex is nothing without angst.

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    4. hahahahahahahahaaha I wouldn't touch that comment with a ten foot pole.

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  4. Great post, Tina! I definitely fall into the stoic camp. I keep my Facebook usage to a minimum because the rants by the drama queens sap my creative juices.

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    1. Ay, ay, ay, Jill. I can relate. I can sucked in like a Hoover Vac.

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  5. Facebook vs. Real Person....

    :)

    No one wants my dirty laundry hangin' 'round their facebook feed, so we tuck it into the big ol' washin' machine in the basement, with plenty of Tide... because that's the place for dirty laundry. Not the World Wide Web. (Thank you, Al Gore... oh, wait... it wasn't you. Never mind....)

    I'm a stoic extrovert.... Which means I know how to keep a secret and how to put on a game face (sales people learn this early in their careers) but I like people, so I'm not afraid to be "out there"... Unless I'm hiding to get work done, in which case, I'm hiding to get work done.

    Love this post. It's GIF heaven/haven.

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    1. A stoic extrovert. Add that to your terminology list. You my dear write angst and do it well.A gift from the Lord.

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    2. Ruthy, you are a complex person.
      KB

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    3. Ditto what Tina said, Ruthy! Great emotion in your stories!

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  6. I tend to be stoic. It's that British stiff upper lip at play. I come by it honestly - my earliest memories are of living with my British grandparents. I know I need to get more emotion in my writing, and I think remembering these gifs might help. Thanks for the laugh!

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    1. LOL. Yeah, those gifs are haunting me too.

      And is it GIF like GIFT or GIF like JIFF. Stoics want to know.

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    2. GIF like GIFT, Tina...or else I've been pronouncing it wrong the entirety of my graphics career (eep!)

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    3. Yeah. I know. I looked it up. It's wrong. Plain wrong.

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    4. Iola, same as me, only with me it's NEW England.
      KB

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  7. I am a stoic. I don't like to share emotions. I don't like my characters to share too much. I have to force them to open up.

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    1. Those rotten withholding characters. Maybe they could have coffee with my characters.

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    2. Good morning, Tina! And thank you for the reminder to get that emotion on the page! I think sometimes stoicism on the written page is akin to the subtle, inner reluctance to get characters into conflict if an author personally avoids conflict at all costs. But emotion and conflict go hand in hand in a story.

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    3. I don't know why my comment went under Terri's -- I did NOT click on the 'reply' there. I clicked on the only other 'reply' that the blog had available -- even after exiting and returning. Must be the phase of the moon or something.

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    4. So we have Stoics and Passive Aggressives here in this crowd. Alas, I suspect that you are right. Avoiding confrontation is my second middle name, Glynna.

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  8. NOW "Add Comment" belatedly appears. SIGH. :)

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  9. I knew this was Tina two lines in and I snickered all the way through. I LOVE this post and am bookmarking to go through again later. And yes, Tina you are definitely a stoic. :)

    Just as I'm an extroverted introvert, so am I an expressive stoic. (Hello, I'm French-Canadian!) I talk with my hands, my eyes go round, I nod enthusiastically and sometimes I can be loud. I'm very open with my struggles, (in person and only with certain people) but I don't get overly e-m-o-t-i-o-n-a-l.

    I hate crying in front of people. I will fight it to the point of pain.

    I think stoic characters can make for a very good story. It all depends on how the writer paints that character. Someone who is stoic may be a tortured soul. (I have a thing for tortured souls, FYI. It's one of my favorite tropes.) I especially like the stoic juxtaposed to an expressive character.

    Ooooh, that could make for a good book! The emotional bare-it-all blogger who falls in love with a super stoic reader who keeps challenging her in the comments.

    I digress. A synonym for stoic is long-suffering, a fruit of the spirit. So, I think it's not a bad thing!

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    1. OOOH! Tortured soul, Clint Eastwood and now Scott Eastwood. Bruce Willis, what's his name with the crazy wife in the attic (Apologies to Jane Eyre-I have been up a long time ).

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    2. Mr Rochester? Was she really crazy ... or just too expressive for him to cope with?

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    3. Oh, how cute is Scott Eastwood?! Mr Rochester - SUCH a tortured soul. Good thing poor, obscure, plain, and little Jane Eyre came back for him.

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  10. Interesting post. I see some comments I can certainly relate to. I'm a private person and don't want people to see my emotions, but I don't think I'm stoic. I may look that way sometimes because it's hard for me to open up except with the people I most trust and am willing to be vulnerable with. But the emotions beneath the surface? Boy are they strong.

    And on the note of emotions (as an aside), I used to be all about visceral reactions, but now I've come full circle. Showing emotion doesn't necessarily mean hitting the reader over the head with what the character is feeling, but letting the circumstances and the knowledge of who the character is speak for themselves. I read some books that were very minimal on viscerals and--wow--powerful. I guess ... everything in balance.

    Carol award finalist giveaway. Great idea. We've got to keep reading and learning ;-)

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    1. This speaks to me of subtext. My favorite form of communication.

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    2. Yes. There's often a lot going on beneath the surface of things. I think in my first drafts of scenes I tend to make people too transparent, too explosive. I inevitably end up backing off as I think, "Is this how this character would really behave?" I think a lot of my writing is trial and error. :-)

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    3. Showing emotion doesn't necessarily mean hitting the reader over the head with what the character is feeling, but letting the circumstances and the knowledge of who the character is speak for themselves.

      Oh Lara! Great way to express it. That's my favorite kind of writing/reading!

      Nancy C

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    4. Nancy C, glad you liked the phrasing. I still find the melodrama creeping into my writing from time to time, but hopefully it gets cut in the editing! :-D

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  11. I love you Tina, I just do! Is that too much emotion at 8 in the morning still working on my first cup of coffee? Sorry, not sorry, haha! I'm not usually in a laughing mood this early, but you've managed to pull out that EMOTION, so kudos to you!

    Do not even ask me if I'm a stoic or emotional, the answer is YES, symptoms change hourly.

    I can see a future for you writing disclaimers, those medical ads have nothing on you, stoicism not with standing.

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    1. LOLOL.

      Strangely enough your response reminded me of Gene Hackman character in The Firm. "Are you married?" woman asks. Gene's character says, "Sometimes."

      I actually was thinking last night that possibly I should consider a career in stand up comedy. I could just talk about my life with a straight face. Easy peasy.

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    2. Tina, I always wanted to do stand-up, until they told me I actually had to stand up.
      KB

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    3. SNORT. I want your funny pills. Hand 'em over.

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  12. This is me, too! I am a bit embarrassed by emotion and I find that it can be very difficult for me to write. But I know that when I have pushed through and bled onto the page people respond. I'm just not always willing to do the hard work that requires. This is a wonderful post and I know that I will refer to it often. Thanks!

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    1. And me, the stoic, really gets, you the stoic, Glynis. It hurts it's painful and I don't want to go there.

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  13. When I put emotion into print, this is my best writing. I can have that emotional scene whipped out in no time, but always muddle through the don't-let-the inner-turmoil-show stuff. That said, I prefer stoic in real life and I've always been an admirer of Mr. Spock. But oh my goodness - if I could do drama like Julie Lessman I would die happy. Or humor like Tina - yes - two things I aspire to. Along with not ending sentences with prepositions.

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    1. And wouldn't it be a perfect world if we had a Tina Lessman who could do both. Maybe Scarlett O'Hara telling jokes.

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    2. I hate that I hate ending sentences in a preposition. It feels like it limits my life.

      But I still cringe when someone asks "Do you know where she is at?"

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    3. CINDY!!! You are so darn sweet, my friend!! Thank you for your kind comment that you would die happy if you "could do drama like Julie Lessman."

      LOL ... happy, yes, AND with tears in your eyes too!! ;)

      Seriously, I come by my drama honestly, having been a bona fide drama queen since I was a tot, which brought no little joy to my siblings who teased me mercilessly just to rile the fire and laugh.

      As a CDQ author, yes, I write for God, but I also write for my husband so I can put all that drama into my books instead of my marriage, God bless my hubby's sorry soul! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    4. TINA SAID: "And wouldn't it be a perfect world if we had a Tina Lessman who could do both. Maybe Scarlett O'Hara telling jokes."

      LOL or a Julie Radcliffe who could actually write and sell short stories in my sleep!!

      As far as I know, Scarlett only told one joke in Gone With the Wind, when she visited Rhett in a makeshift jail in a barn:

      "And you here in this horrid jail and not even a human jail, Rhett, a horse jail. Oh, listen to me trying to make jokes when when I really want to cry."

      The woman was definitely long on grit and short on humor. ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie




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  14. Stoic characters do not a good read make.- I am a stoic. There I said it lol. If there is no emotion, you must create it.- Going to go look. I'm sure it's not there. Thanks for this great post! And I went looking for the quiz...I was hoping it would help me create emotion. Thanks for the chance to win something...hopefully causing emotion! By doing the above you take your characters to a level of connection with the reader.-off to go do this!

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    1. You have my permission to tattoo this on your virtual decolletage. Very tastefully of course, Sally.

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    2. Thank you. I've never had a tattoo before.

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  15. Um...considering my brothers once dubbed me "Mount Vesuvius" because I erupted emotions, I doubt I'm stoic. Of course I just erupt for the entertainment/embarrassment of my family - not online *Shudder*. It does take awhile for the emotions to build up though. More dormant times than not - thanks to me writing the emotions out on the page (consider it seismic therapy).
    Now my husband... a bit stoic. He's gotta be that old crusty sea Salt that isn't hurt by anything. Yeah... not really, but he wants people to think that.
    I love this post, Tina. The internally screaming GIF is the best, IMHO.

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    1. Hormones should not be confused with drama.

      Labile emotions was my moniker during those hormonal years. B12 will eliminate that, then you will find out if you are truly a drama queen.

      Spock was soft on the inside. Don't you think?

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    2. Mount Vesuvius! LOL πŸ˜‚

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  16. Working in a pharmacy with the public, you have to learn how to be a stoic. People get mad about high copays. You have to stay calm. People get mad because they don't have refills. You must stay calm. You tell a customer the drug the doctor prescribed interacts with their current meds and you want to call the doctor to change the RX, and they get mad. People get mad for any little or big reason, and you must remain calm. It doesn't matter that most of these issues are not your fault. You learn to control yourself and help the customer to the best of your ability. So, I've learned to be a stoic.

    Great post, Tina. Thanks!

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    1. Oh, my. Joe Public. My favorite as a nurse. We always played good nurse bad nurse when a coworker had to address a patient.

      Channel your inner stuffed emotion, Jackie. Let it go free.

      Free. Free. Free, I tell you.

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  17. Tina I loved, LOVED this post and that's about as loud as I'm going to get! Stoics tend to watch events and think about them, cheering inside. I think it might be why it's so hard for stoics to learn show not tell.
    But there's hope (there's always hope, isn't there?) My stoic experience has been that as we learn show don't tell and deep POV in our writing it starts to come out of us- not in an out of body way - 'cause the body is present. My daughter took me to see the stage performance of Mamma Mia. She got nervous because I started wiggling to the music. From small beginnings- dot dot dot!

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    1. SNORT!!! THAT CRACKED ME UP.

      Go, Barbara, you little toe tapping emoticon you!!

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  18. Tina, this post is a hoot and very thought provoking! You've nailed the importance for creating emotion with humor, a great way to get points across. We writers know emotion is important but showing it vs. telling it is not easy. I struggle with it with each book I write. The problem may be that in my personal life I tell my emotions but rarely show them. Not sure what that makes me.

    Janet

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    1. Hmm..good question. I think it makes you...wait for it...HUMAN.

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    2. LOL Human is a great answer, Tina! Far better than I was thinking.

      Janet

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  19. I blame it on my meds.
    Oh, and writing extroverted characters takes all sorts of superhuman effort.

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    1. Yes. Yes. Yes. It's like pulling out your tonsils via your belly button!!!!!

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    2. LOL, only a nurse would think of that!

      Janet

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  20. Great post. At times I am more a stoic then a drama queen. Then there are times like when I had a 4 ft long snake in my living room and freak out like I did last week. My friend wondered why I was laughing only it was not your normal laugh. No it was hysterical laughter. Finally I called my landlord who came in and got the snake out.

    Then there are days like today when my emotions are all over the place. I am trying to hold in the tears especially when I will call Dad in 20 minutes. Today would have been my parents 65th wedding anniversary. A year ago I mentioned to my brother that we ought to plan something special and have all the family together. His words were that will never happen. Then Mom passed away in January and everyone was there except for one of the great grandchildren for the funeral.

    One take I have on all this is the Lord is with me whatever emotional state I am in at the time. He never leaves. He is always there.

    At the time of the snake as I'm keeping an eye on it, the thought crossed my mind. Hmm this might make an interesting little twist in a story.

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    1. That's not drama. That's normal. Hugs to you! In the most stoic manner of course.

      I am plugging my ears to the snake story. lalalalalala

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  21. Great post! There's not one tiny bit of stoicism in me at all. I cry over commercials. I refuse to read "Love You Forever" to my granddaughter because it makes me cry like a baby. No matter how hard I try, I can't mask my emotions. My husband on the other hand is completely stoic. Not sure how we've lasted 26 years. LOL.

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    1. LeAnne, I cry at commercials, too. At least the Hallmark and Maxwell House commercials. Maybe I'm not as stoic as I first thought. Maybe it's harder to cry when it really matters.

      Janet

      Janet

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  22. Here's one for you, LeAnne Bristow.

    No Matter What, by Debi Gliori

    Large held Small snug as they looked out at the night,
    at the moon in the dark and the stars shining bright.
    "Small, look at the stars, how they shine and glow,
    but some of those stars died a long time ago."
    "Still they shine in the evening skies
    love, like starlight, never dies."

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    1. I love that book! It makes me tear up too. My kinders think it's hilarious when I do that.

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  23. I am probably stoic. My emotions run deep and I experience the whole gamut but I don't put them out there for all to see. I am as big a fan, or perhaps addict is the better word, of FB but I can't for the life of me understand some of the posts I see each and every day! But yes, these people would be better characters than me :-)
    Thanks for sharing and I would love to be entered in your drawing!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, you are entered. May the stoic force be with you.

      Delete
  24. Seneca is another beloved stoic. He said:


    “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” ...


    “True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.

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  25. OH MY GOODNESS ... my face hurts from grinning and laughing, and it's only 9:15 in the morning!! Good thing I am editing the final scenes of my upcoming book so I can get a few tears in! ;)

    TINA!!! I love, Love, LOVED this post, my friend, I guess because I am so "unstoic" that this is all so new to me ... AND soooo fascinating!

    Regarding stoicism, you said: "Followers of this school of philosophy ascribe to the theory that we should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity."

    And I immediately said, "Say what????!!!!" Free from passion??? Seriously, shoot me now, because I would die. Which I guess rules me out as a stoic of any kind, closet or non.

    WHICH you then neatly confirmed with your smirky remark that, "It is also very possible that many of you are closet stoics as well. (I am not speaking to Julie Lessman.)"

    Oh, THANK GOD!!!!

    Although I must admit that there are qualities I admire in a stoic, such as the lack of murmuring and the ability to play poker well.

    Does it count that I do sometimes write characters who are stoic?? I would consider Emma Malloy and John Brady stoics, but then deep down inside, I make them little Julies, gushing with emotion hidden all too well until their deep, dark secrets are revealed ... B-waaaaaaa!!!!!! ;)

    LOVE this post, my friend, but then I can pretty much say that about everything you write, Teenster!

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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    1. SNORT. And I love everything you write. I bet even your grocery lists are CDQ quality.

      From your fan!

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  26. This is good, Tina, and so true. Also funny. I knew it was you after the first paragraph. I'm beginning to recognize the "voices" of the Seekers! I'd know Ruthy or Mary, blindfolded, in the Sahara Desert. ANYWAY...this is a huge problem for me. Emotion. I'm a lifelong archetypal New Englander (married to a man who was known in high school as The Great Stone Face. It takes us two hours to have an argument, one sentence every fifteen minutes.) I have to work at keeping emotion at the forefront, rather than doing the three-dot thing for stuff that isn't even sex. I've been helped by crit partners. A couple of years ago I read Cheryl St. John's book, actually I won it HERE, and that helped a lot. We have to give people a reason for reading, and they're not going to get that from pursed lips. Not from me, anyway.
    Finished the second draft of my WIP, so am feeling productive. Have two book reviews to write this week, but compared to my own writing, that's easy.
    It is cool and dry in NH today. Too cold for the lake, so I'm going to get some stuff done around here.
    Back later,
    KB

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    1. LOLOL. Two hours for an argument. I love that. I must steal it for a book.

      Delete
  27. Great post Tina. Really, so much fun!!! The graphics also. You are so clever. And I don't think any of us are very stoic. Ha ha. Love the reminder of Vince's RPP indicators.

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    1. Happy Birthday, Sandra and yes. FACEBOOK TOLD ME. Best virtual secretary ever.

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  28. I'm constantly worrying that I don't have enough emotion on the page. (I know worry counts as an emotion, but I don't want it to transfer to the reader!)
    An editor told me that my characters needed to show emotion more, and I ended up writing a melodrama.
    Then I tried to compensate by writing a story about people who went around repressing their emotions.
    Eventually I'll find the 'Goldlilocks' version where everything is juuuuust right.
    I hope.
    (Goes back to worrying.)

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    1. Dear Goldie, Yeah, welcome to my world. Sigh.

      Delete
  29. I AM ABSOLUTELY A STOIC.
    I am the eye of the hurricane in my very emotional family. I smile. I pour oil on troubled waters. I pass on info from one to the other, heavily edited to state facts and hide the emotional turmoil behind them.
    "We can't come. I'm so sorry. We have to work."
    as opposed to
    "We can't come because my 'turmoil-y' family member would rather have a root canal than spend an afternoon with you."

    I remain calm and keep the peace...and that's okay. Someone has to do it.

    And then I write books and SHOOT PEOPLE.

    So even that's good.

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    1. And by 'even that's good' I mean...the inspiration for my work has to come from somewhere right?
      So YAY! (sort of)

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    2. I learned "the way" from my mother...who was the peacemaker...I am not quite as refined as she, but I'm working on it! Sure does create better family relations! Gotta have some way of getting out those emotions...I, too, dream of shooting people...I mean in my stories! LOL

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    3. YEs, and get awards for shooting them. See, I've been doing this all wrong for years. In my family we throw plates of food. So I smile and nod and write perfect characters. Well, someone around here needs therapy. Just saying.

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    4. You and me, Kathryn. I dream of shooting people too. In my stories of course. In my stories.

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    5. Tina, you throw plates of food? Good Italian pasta with marinara sauce? I'm cringing, thinking of the lost meals. The clean up. My brother buttered my nose once. That was as close to a food fight as I can remember.

      Janet

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    6. OF COURSE YOU MEAN IN YOUR STORIES KATHRYN!!!

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  30. I love this post, Tina! I come from a long line of stoic, stiff-upper-lip Germans, so burying emotion was taught from the cradle. I can't tell you how many times my critique partner has said, "Um, you need some emotion here." I always insist it's in there, and she just smiles and says, "It's in your head. You need it on the page." Ooooh, that! :) Is it any wonder I love a strong, silent hero who shows his heart through his actions?

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    1. I relate. The first thing I critique in others and myself. SHOW ME EMOTION!

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  31. Tina, you have convinced me. Any success I may have achieved is due in great part to the fact that internally, the drama is constant and ongoing. But in all other facets of life, this is not something to be envied, Tina, my dear friend.
    Unfortunately, there is at least a modicum of inner turmoil going on at all times inside. But I am embarrassed by this, so I try to hide it. Sometimes it does come out on Facebook. Way more often than I would like. (I pretty much always have the fear that I'm oversharing, and yet, I still end up oversharing.)
    Again I say, Do not envy me, dear Tina. There is little to no joy in this existence.
    And that is the truth, in all its oversharing glory.
    ;-) (Only sort of kidding.)

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    1. With nearly every single book I've written, my daughter, who is my first reader, tells me, "Your heroine cries too much. WAY too much!" But I'm thinking, If that was happening to me, I would cry!!! But alas, tears should not be used as much in fiction as in (my) real life.

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    2. And I am (sort of) kidding.

      Not really. But I want you to laugh.

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    3. hahahahahahaha! The first thing after emotion that I critique is those TEARS. Stop it I tell you. Stop it. NO WIMPY HEROINES.

      And yet, there you go..you NYT best selling author.

      From this moment on, all critiqued by me should ignore me.

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    4. Oh no! Tina, I'm sure your critiques are right on. I make it a point to take out 2/3 of the times my heroine cries and only leave in one or two. Thankfully, my heroines don't have to cry as often as I do.

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  32. I'm a stoic. But I share deeply one-on-one...when the sharing helps the other person.

    And I love Michael Hauge!

    I also like Vince's RPP!

    Don't know Shelly but relate to having emotion on each page...something I need to review as I work through my WIP.

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    1. I learned much from Shelly Thacker in the late nineties. She spoke at our local Colorado chapter and at RWA.

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  33. TINA, this is a great post! I avoid "Drama Queens" at ALL cost!

    I break out in an internal happy dance when one of my favorite authors has a new release!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    Replies
    1. Garlic and a cross often helps to keep the drama queen at bay.

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  34. Hi Tina:

    You wrote:

    "This law requires the writer to examine each page of their manuscript to verify that each action has a reaction!"

    Yes, but the reaction can happen many pages later. Not knowing how a character will react to emotional news can create a much page-turning 'Anticipatory Event' that the reader looks forward to discovering. BTW: the reaction need not be opposite but more likely is the same. Anger meet with anger. Emotions cannot be measured in ergs.

    Also, very important, is providing a balance of strong emotions. "Call the Midwife" is exemplary in this respect. Whenever there are strong emotions of sadness, later in the program there will be strong emotions of joy. Every show! This is the best TV show and script writing I've even seen.

    I would also advise an author to give her readers a full spectrum of emotional experience -- even to the point of color coding the WIP with what emotions the reader/and/character should be feeling at that point of the story. Love, hate, anger, joy, pride, feelings of admiration, jealousy, that is, give the reader a smorgasbord of vicarious emotions. That way readers will feel most alive and your story will become a part of them. Strong emotions attach a red flag to your memory of events.

    Great job Tina. This post is a clip file saver on steroids! Wise quotes, too. : )

    And now for something stoical:

    "Moderation in all things."
    The Greek's Gold Mean

    "Figuratively losing your head in battle often leads to literally losing your head in battle."

    "Vulcan emotions were so much stronger than human emotions that if Vulcans had not controlled them with logic, they probably would not have survived as a race. A Vulcan's erupting volcano of emotions could only be controlled by the raging seas of their logic."

    "It's the drama queen who is the best stoic because she knows it's a cold calculated act to get her way."


    Prosper!

    Vince

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    1. Color coding? I would do that if I ever had any fermentation time in my manuscripts.

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    2. I always yearn for more time to do all the wonderful things suggested in how-to books. Then reality hits...along with my deadline.

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  35. Awesome post, Tina, and worth the wait! I was going to say "worth waiting for", then remembered the preposition comment!

    I am so private on Facebook, Google can't find me! One thing I've learned...never tell a FB friend anything personal...they'll post it for you!

    I am a stoic, but also very empathetic, if that makes sense. I've learned stoicism from my partner, as he is the one person I know who can have a root canal without any Novacaine! Of course, I'm sitting there with my legs crossed, eyes closed, and feeling every rev of the drill! Otherwise, putting that emotion down on the page is a challenge for me. Story = Emotion, from one of my critiques (I won't say who, TINA, or else it will be posted on FB). I'm working on it, and hopefully, my next submission will show it.

    Enter me, please.

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. hahaha! Marcia, you are a stoic empath. I am sure I saw you on an episode of Star Trek with Jean Luc Picard. (Story = Emotion? Who said that???)

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  36. Oh my goodness, Tina! This was a hoot! But seriously, I don't know that I have ever thought about being stoic. I tend to be over the top with emotions like excitement and happiness. My kids have started gasping at everything I say....evidently I like to gasp. But when it comes to the deeper, more "down" emotions like sadness or anger, I tend to close up.

    It is definitely something I need to work on in my writing. I'm pretty sure there is not emotion on every page of my writing!!!!

    I need to find a gif of someone gasping! lol or a meme: Gasping..the way to make life exciting.

    Maybe not!

    Great idea with the Carol finalist giveaway! Wow!

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    1. A gasper??? Ever drive in a car with a gasper? OMYGOSH.

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    2. Sherrinda, that's so cute!! I bet your kids are so fun. :)

      Tina, my kids get mad at me for gasping in the car! LOL Usually, it's not driving related. Which is probably worse. haha

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  37. My Stoa Story

    There really is a stoa in the ancient city of Athens. It is a long narrow building that was rebuilt in the original materials and is now a beautiful museum of Greek artifacts. The original was a marketplace where the philosophers often hung out to discuss their ideas.

    Since so many who had Stoic views gather there, their school of philosophy came to be called Stocis.

    During my first time in the Stoa I was taking pictures and two big guards came over to eject me! The public could take pictures but not use a flash. This was clearly posted in English. I had to explain to a manager that it was a new camera bought for this very trip to Greece and I did not know how to turn the flash off! They let me stay but I could not risk taking any more pictures. But I do now have some great post cards of the Stoa.

    It was a good thing I didn't get too emotional and bark at those guards! Being a stoic myself, kept me in the Stoa. A true story.


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    1. WHAT AN ABSOLUTELY PERFECT STORY FOR TODAY. Thank you, Vince.

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  38. Tina...laughing, chuckling, giggling at this post and comments!!! Great discussion!

    One thing that first attracted me to this site for writers was the honest sharing of emotions in the posts and comments! Not the usual mechanical rote responses. And, of course, I felt so at home with all the !!!! scattered everywhere! I'd been told to keep them out of my stories and felt so lost not knowing how I could express myself without them!! LOL

    In my heart and head, I'm emotional! I mind-speak (sometimes unkind, even snarky) and cry and my heart aches or rejoices, but what comes out of my mouth tends to be very controlled and thought out. I learned as a child my dearest sweetest mother was quite uncomfortable with my emotional side...LOL I also later learned "still waters run deep!" She's quite emotional, but doesn't express herself well in this area.

    I guess I'm a closet dramatic emotionalist...hopefully able to express this in stories!

    Thanks for a delightful morning read!





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    1. Oh, Kathryn/Kate!! I hope you feel at home with my !!!

      I asked my daughter to proof my newsletter. She said..

      Too many exclamation points.

      Sigh. Where did I go wrong.

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  39. Seriously laughing over here. In channeling my character, I keep picturing the scene in Ms. Congeniality when Sandra Bullock is told "Be the crown, wear the crown".

    I had a nightmare last night. A wake up sweating totally glad my husband was next to me kind of nightmare. And the sad part? My first awake thought was "ok now write that emotion!" Ugh. Writer brain realities.

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    1. No nightmare, but I got creeped out--okay, scared last night. Last night my sister showed me a pic that was taken at their gate a couple of nights before. Someone tried to hit the access code at one-something in the morning. The camera took 2 pics. They both looked black like there was no pic. You blow one of the pics up and there is this close-up of an undistinguishable face. My husband had to leave for work about 1:45 this morning and I was too nervous to get up and lock the door.

      I never get creeped out like that!!!
      The sad part? I DIDN'T think about writing. LOL.

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    2. Yeah. This curse/blessing existence of ours, is thrilling and pitiful.

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  40. Apparent my phone profile is different from my desktop profile πŸ˜†. Testing!!!

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    1. I would like to reply, but I'm controlling my emotions. :)

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    2. Careful, that can lead to emotional spewing when you least expect it.

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  41. Late late late checking in today--email problems had me on the phone with tech support forever!

    Great advice today, Tina, you closet stoic, you! (Live long and prosper!) Vince's advice on rewards per page has sort of wormed its way into my subconscious, so I find myself being more aware of the emotional impact of each scene as I write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love RPP. I wish he'd hurry up and publish that book.

      Delete
  42. Tina, LOVE your PERFECT post.....the moving pictures!!!!!!

    I'm a stoic, hiding my passionate side....except for a few CAPS and !!! popping out on occasion. Thanks for the ideas on how to add emotion to my pages. I NEED to work on that, but I believe I'm making progress.

    Doesn't Vince have a RPP book in the works? I'll buy it!

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  43. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a family with several sisters will always produce a drama queen."
    J.L. Austin, "Sense and Sensibilia"*

    *Not to be confused with Jane Austen, "Pride and Prejudice"

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, wow, Vince, you nailed my 3 granddaughters! The middle one is a certified drama queen!!! She's only 6, so as "dramatic" as she is now, the world is in trouble when she becomes a teenager!!!

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    2. Tell me about it. I am not that woman.

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  44. I'm a stoic, sad to say. When I first started writing, I couldn't even DO emotions. I've gotten better, but I still get kind of uncomfortable for the really emotional stuff and I find myself trying to think of ways to get around it. Thanks so much for these tips. Heaven knows I need them.

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  45. Okay, Tina, the big question is can I blame allergies on this blog, too? :-)

    What a post! And I mean that in the very best of ways. One of the many things you helped me see is that a character I have a great deal of trouble getting to express himself is, to a large degree, a stoic -- growing up as he did he had to tamp down emotions to survive. Now that I understand him better, I think we'll communicate better.

    Yes to this -- emotion is easily transmitted from the writer to the reader. When a writer loves characters there's just something extra strong about the story, so much so that I don't want the story to end because I don't want to say goodbye to the characters.

    Thanks for a terrific post!

    Nancy C

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    1. Amen, Nancy. I have a stoic character and I am worried he talked too much in this book.

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  46. Such an interesting post, Tina, and so helpful! BUT, I must admit that I'm surprised that you're surprised to discover that you're a closet stoic. I've known it since you threatened my heroine with, "Stop that crying or I'll give you something to cry about" during a critique. Oh, wait. That might have been a flashback of my mother talking to me. Still though, you did comment that my heroine needed get a backbone and a box of tissues, or something along those lines, LOL. What's really weird about that is that I'm a closet stoic, too, and yet I write about people who aren't. There's a line between stoic and sappy/sobbing - and I'm still aiming for it. Thanks for such a fun post!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. On the floor laughing. hahahahaha.

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    2. hahahaha. Tina told me "Enough with the tears. We get it." I use them very sparingly now, because it has greater impact. Thanks, T

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    3. LOL. So I sing the same song. It's a good song. hehehe

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  47. Great post, Tina (saving it!). I think I vary in my stoic-ness. I like to think I'm calm, but similar to what Melanie Dickerson said, there's always undercurrents of emotion/ drama close to the surface. Given the right circumstances (lack of caffeine, sleep, chocolate) it's pretty easy for me to slip from my German / English roots to my Irish redheaded tendencies, and unleash a whole gamut of emotions pretty quickly :)
    Love the gifs, and the quotes - especially the encouragement to cry at the computer! (I also love me some exclamation marks!!!)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, lack of sleep is what pushes the button on my inner drama queen. The right sleep deprivation and I am attuned to your every nuance of speech and how you are abusing me.

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  48. That was hilarious, Tina. I am a stoic outside the house and a drama queen inside. What does that make me? Bipolar? My characters are the same. Some just watch life as they go along- which I need to change. And the others deal with so much passion and emotion that I just want to shake a random person and then go listen to the same song a hundred times over.

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    1. Bipolar? lol Boo, that's classic.

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    2. There is medication for that Boo. It's called chocolate.

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  49. Fascinating. I am without a doubt a stoic. And a sloth. And an Eeyore. Add in that I'm a Southerner and I move slower than molasses. lol

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    1. We need a turtle race sometime, Pam. I bet my inner turtle is slower than yours.

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    2. Haha! Pam, I don't see you as an Eeyore.

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  50. Dear Tina, What can I write? Another great post with lots of information about deepening the craft of writing. 99% of the time, I am a stoic. The 1% of time when there is a major rejection or life event, I am totally a drama queen. Since I am often perceived as the responsible person in the group, I am guessing others would say the same.

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    Replies
    1. Embrace your 1% Tanya. hehehehe

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    2. Tanya, I just posted my comment about being closer to the stoic on the continuum. But I actually think maybe you hit the nail on the head. I'm usually a stoic, but then one rare occasions go off the deep end! LOL

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    3. Typo alert: But then ON rare occasions...

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  51. Tina, I'm late to the party. But what a fun post!! I think one of my favorite quotes (reminders) is: "That investment is not made simply telling them who a character is, but showing them."

    Also, I'm somewhere between drama queen and stoic--probably a good bit closer to stoic end of the spectrum. It's really hard for me to let someone see me cry or be in a moment of weakness. And it's even hard for me to let my anger or frustration show. However, my family may disagree about the frustration part. haha

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    1. I am going to poll your family.

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    2. Yeah, I fear they may say I'm a bit free with the frustration. :)

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  52. Love Mary Connealy's books - she has such a great sense of humor and it appears in her writing!

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    1. Ah, Mary Connealy fan club president is here. Can I bribe you to come over to the Tina Radcliffe fan club? Mary will never know.hahahahaha

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  53. I knew this was going to happen. I loved this post. I've been working on emotion and getting better at writing it. And there's thing called summer break. With two teen boys. I read this post this mornings and I loved it. I smiled at so many of your points. And I got distracted by one boy or another and never commented. :)

    It was a great post, Tina. :) Just had to mention it.

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    1. Teenagers?????? How did that happen. You have emotion living in your house to draw from. Teenagers!!!

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  54. You're hilarious :)

    Well... I'd say I'm in between. We have drama queens and stoics in our family and I'm right in the middle.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  55. Nice disclaimer ;) This is an excellent post. Books that successfully show me the deeper parts of a character and elicit emotional responses from me while reading are ones that I love and remember and even better... recommend! :)
    Please include me in the giveaway!!!

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  56. I am stoic. I am a quiet person who prefers to keep my private life private but I'm sure willing to discuss books!
    Please enter me in the giveaways!

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  57. Um a tiny bit of a drama queen--occasionally! ;-)

    Please include me in the giveaway!

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