Digging. Drill down. Go deeper. These are all words/phrases/things I've typed in critiques. It's my short hand for: you're only scratching the surface, but there's big oil reserves down there.
It's also something that I myself have had to come and face. Not just in my writing but in a personal level.
There were some not so good days this week. They are not writing related, and I've come to term/dealt with them, so I'm cool. Am I going to tell you the gory details--of course not. However, I have learned not to shy away from unpleasant emotions. Just because something makes us unhappy does not mean we do not talk about it. Not that every subject needs to be full of negativity, but everyone stumbles and has a weak moment. This week has been mine. (It's only Tuesday I realize--that tell you something about how my week has been?)
But I will say these words, drill down/digging/go deeper are a better way of dealing with/discussing anger/fear/hatred/frustration/love than anything I have yet to find.
I was busy trying to explain my situation to a friend via gchat and he stops me to ask what made me type some of the things I've said. I give him some of the answers, but he stops me again and says, no that's not what I meant. Why do YOU say these things? Why do YOU feel so strongly about this?
My friend forced me to go down past the surface level emotion--anger, and delve into why I was angry. Not the situation, but my emotions that led to me being angry. I feel that I'm mucking this up. But what I have learned is that most of these surface layer emotions are always backed by deeper more personal emotions. I wasn't just angry--oh I thought I was--but I was not. I was hurt, I'd lost something I dearly wanted, I felt betrayed. All of these emotions were baked in a pie and covered by a crust of anger. Without that tasty filling, the pie crust doesn't have legs on which to stand.
He also forced me to look at a lot of my own "demons" surrounding the subject. As I started to sit down and write I find that I too am starting to unpack/drill down into my characters emotions. Not asking what makes them angry--but what is that anger covering. That's where the real drama is. Because the filling is way more satisfying than the pie crust.