Well, obviously you know that Prince the funky purple music icon passed away last week. As a Minneapolitan and a child of the 1980s I reeled a bit from his death and like many people went into an a long weekend of digging out the old CDs and listening to them weepily.
I credit that listening binge for a dream I had last night where Prince appeared while revising my book (this baseball/bee one). I’d been working on it all weekend, and was doing so in the dream. Prince read over my shoulder and asked “What do you want the reader to feel right here? What do you want the reader to feel right here?” He was both frustrated and encouraging.
It’s some of the best writing advice I’ve ever gotten. I spend all this time worrying about plot structure, moving characters from point A to point B, the three-act play, the drops and rises in action (which needs special work on this draft). I had never thought purely about feeling in a book, scene by scene and passage by passage. Charting emotional goals like plot points: I want the reader to laugh here, to cry here, to feel nervous here, to be angry here.
My books have culminated in emotional moments, but they are slow-building, and come as a natural consequence of the story. But leave it to Prince, whose music was always a tapestry of intense feeling, to focus my attention on those emotional goals for the reader throughout.
I’m taking this with me as I continue. Thank you, dream Prince. I hope to see you again.