Blurred Reality is a short story that demanded more than usual. So, please allow me a moment of reflection before I send it out.
Short stories are like that. Different from novels — works that require personal bits but can spin into something else fifty or a hundred pages later — short stories demand more. To me, they demand more personal experiences, more understanding, more emotion.
They demand putting oneself out there. And that can be difficult because it’s counter intuitive. We’re programmed not to expose our own experiences or those of our family members. Our psychological defense mechanisms are in place to keep us from doing exactly that.
But as an avid reader, I know full engagement is demanded. As a reader, I don’t want to be protected. I want to be transported, and the author doesn’t get to choose if I like where I’m going or not. Or at least that’s the illusion.
Emotional writing that doesn’t go there comes out as unnatural. Fake. And readers pick up on it, don’t they? They also pick up on over sharing, too much drama, so it’s all a delicate dance where every step looks easy, but it was meticulously studied and planned and hopefully understood.
Donald Maass advises that we mine our own experiences as writers. So, in the end, style or voice, those celebrated terms we hear so much about, boil down to psychology. Crazy, I know.
What do you think, dear blogging friend? Have you ever taken a big breath and jumped?