Thursday, September 12, 2013

That Sweet, Bitter, Sad, Crying Moment...

When everything is ruined, when emotional strain peaked, your character does the unthinkable...

He cries.

Call me weird, but I don't like cry scenes.  And I know for a fact you'd be calling a lot of other people weird too if you called that weird.

Have you ever noticed how ineffective a crying moment can be?  I know, all of us authors might be crying with the character.  And sometimes, it's okay to have a character cry.

But crying... crying is about the worst physical way you can show your character is going through an emotional phase.  Everyone cries.  Just rarely enough to make it seem like some great thing to us authors, but it's very inexpressive - or, at least, much less than you could have it be.  Live up to the scene's emotional intensity, reveal a habit in the character - make this his scene, not a weeping one.

That said, a moment or two is acceptable.  But especially in a book, most of the time you're going to want to keep it to the absolute minimum.

While movies can get away with a crying scene a bit easier, we writers, we can't do that so well.

Most of all, we usually don't want our characters ending up like that man in the picture above, do we?

So display that moment of intense distress - but make it original, and think before letting a character shed tears.

~R.  A. H. Thacker


  1. Great post, Warrior. :) Made me think about my own "crying moments." You're right, there are better ways to show the character's emotional distress. Maybe even throwing a hissy fit would be better--more shocking to the reader. However, with weaker characters, crying is still an important part of their personality. Their whole problem might be that they're far too fragile...

    1. Indeed, that is very true. At times crying is definitely necessary.

      The main thing that inspire this post was the drama on Character Chat Thread, though I'm afraid even my stronger characters have at times cried their eyes out as well.

  2. I agree with your post Thacker, but also I have envisioned, and read for that matter, literary moments where open tears shed can make an incredible turning point for the book, though, as you say, used to often, the scenery begins o lose it's allure. I like your post, especially how you notice these small inadequacies of literature.
    -Z. Baner

    1. Indeed, there are times when tears really fit the scene.
      Why thank you, Z. Even some of the smallest things can bug me at times - not that any piece can be wholly perfect.

      Thacker? Ooh, I like that. ;)

  3. *Cough* Might you have been talking about Audri? O.o

    And I agree... Sometimes. *Shrug* It depends on the character really. And sometimes the crying isn't meant to cause an emotional moment. A lot of what I use it for is to create a calculated distance between the reader and the character. (Not on the chat thread though, that's not meant to be great literature.)

    And yes. I'm going around commenting on your old posts. :p


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