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Exercise Wednesday: Excitement, exciting and new…

March 14, 2012

Today’s sort of a follow on to a previous post about writing emotions you aren’t feeling.

As I said, in my secret on line group on writing character emotions, the current emotion is excitement. Excitement is a tough one for me. My characters tend not to get excited too often. Good writing involves conflict and conflict isn’t typically exciting. It can be, but when you’re battling and the stakes are high, it’s a rare person who gets excited.

In game six of the 1975 World Series, the Reds and Red Sox were fighting tooth and nail in a game that–still today–might be considered on of the best baseball games ever. It was back-and-forth, high-tension from the first pitch until Carlton Fisk led off the twelfth inning with a home run off the left-field foul pole to end the game. The iconic image of that game is still Fisk, a future Hall-of-Famer, waving the ball fair after he hit it, then jumping to the heavens when it hit the foul pole (the foul pole is fair territory).

During the game, Pete Rose, then the Reds’ third baseman told several people how much fun the game was and how lucky he felt to be involved in it–win or lose. That’s excitement during conflict, and for most people, it’s probably not a natural response.

So today’s exercise is a multiple choice:

  • Write a scene in which your protagonist is excited. Not upset or angry, but excited in a good way. Excitement causes several things to occur in your body–and writing about those things can make the scene seem more real. You pick the context and the action. But it should be exciting, and ideally, darling reader should feel the character’s excitement.
  • If there’s a scene or type of scene you’re struggling with, write that..

Time limit: 25 minutes

  1. Chris Hamilton permalink
    March 14, 2012 6:29 am

    The green of the trees and the blue of the lake and the sky didn’t seem natural to me. It seemed lush and impossible like a fairy tale. Twenty-five years ago, I took all this for granted.

    Twenty-five years ago might as well have been a different world. The man who lived then–not much more than a boy, really–didn’t exist any more.

    Schroon Lake used to be the halfway point from home to school, a sign that it was okay to get off and grab a Coke for a little caffeine hit. I needed the caffeine again, but now I drink my caffeine warm. And the impossibly long trip from Saratoga to Plattsburgh? I’d driven that twelve times over in the trip just to get up here.

    All the crap that happened was behind me now. Here, I wasn’t a disgraced former AM-radio morning host. I was just a guy driving a car with Florida plates, stopping off for coffee.

    For the past twenty-five years, I’ve made a habit of not looking back. You can’t. That’s resting on your laurels. Now, I was. The future was tomorrow. The past was today.

    College was the best time of my life. No cares or worries–though I didn’t know that at the time. A tight circle of friends with little worry of politics or who’s going to screw whom. The last time I was up there was in 1990, when I had to burn some vacation.

    Now I was here, maybe an hour and a half away from meeting someone I hadn’t seen in a decade.

    Holy shit.

    The coffee from Stewart’s isn’t as good as the coffee from Dunkin Donuts, but it was a hell of a lot cheaper and better than Starbucks, and it got me to the required exit, where I would meet my old friend at a Dunkin Donuts. More coffee. Yay!

    In college, there wasn’t a coffee maker in the entire freaking dorm.

    I got my coffee and a couple of dipping sticks. With little to do before leaving this morning, I was early. So I sat by the window and drank my coffee and ate my donuts and watched the cars.

    She pulled in driving a green Nissan sedan, and looked almost exactly as she had twenty-five years earlier. Holy shit. I didn’t look that way. My hair, what little of it there was, was now lighter–that’s what we’ll call it, lighter–than it had been.

    I tossed the crumpled donut bag in the trash and took my coffee to the parking lot. It might possibly be seventy-five outside, approximately six-hundred degrees cooler than Florida. She got out of her car and smile subtly as she approached. I smiled back. Without a word we embraced and it was, for a moment, 1986 again.

    “You look amazing,” she said.

    “I’m required to wear a hat to keep from blinding pilots with my head.” I rubbed the spot where once there had been hair. “You look exactly like you did the last time I saw you.”

    She smiled and flushed a little. “What do you want to do?”

    I shrugged and smiled. I had nothing to do and no one to do it for. No one to please, no preconceived notions to live up to. “I am in your hands.”

    I breathed in the clean, cool air and didn’t think twice about the words I’d say and how they might be perceived.

    Home. Again. For an afternoon.

    Tomorrow would be different, but today was today. And that was enough.

    Son of a bitch.

  2. March 20, 2012 12:34 pm

    I do enjoy the way you have framed this specific issue plus it does. Thank you for this excellent piece and though I can not really agree with the idea in totality, I value the viewpoint.

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