Pretty much everyone knows the phrase ‘4th wall’
refers to that make-believe wall which separates those onstage from the audience in a theater. Theoretical, the ‘4th wall’ has been removed so the audience can vicariously experience whatever is happening onstage from a safe and neutral distance.
But pish-tosh. Vicarious is not a part of my working vocabulary. Neutral is merely a gear on my car. When a character suffers, I suffer. If everyone onstage is sad and melancholy, that’s my lot in life, too, at least until the final curtain call. I am that audience member who weeps so loudly my sobs disturb everyone else. Sorry.
I remember when I was writing the third book of the Alvarez Family Mystery Series, Death Runs in the Family. There was a scene involving Lee Alvarez, protagonist, and the catnapping of her cat, Tugger, and his playmate, Baba. The two stolen felines were in the back of a station wagon on their way from Palo Alto, CA, to Las Vegas, NV. It would be around an eight hour drive, bad enough for two cats trapped in their carrier in the real world, but this was make believe, right? Well, not really.
I had to stop in the middle of the scene, leaving it unfinished for the next three days. I don’t remember why, but at the time it was necessary. On the third night I awoke from a deep sleep completely distraught. Lying beside me, my husband sleepily asked what was wrong.
“Darling,” I said, “I left those two cats in the back of the station wagon without food and water for three days! I have to go rescue them!”
“You mean the cats in your book? The one’s you’re writing about? The fictional ones?”
“Yes, but I can’t stand it. I have to free them. I have to finish the scene or I’ll never go back to sleep!”
Fortunately, after being married to me for decades, he just kissed me on the cheek and told me to do whatever made me feel better. So I got up, went to my office, sat down at the computer, and wrote the rescue of the cats. I was able to go back to sleep around six in the morning, but only after the cats were fed, watered, and snuggled in. Then I gave Lee a much needed glass of wine. A red cab. I had one, too. Delicious.
In DEAD….If Only, the fourth book, there is a chapter or two with Lee Alvarez trapped on a boat in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico during a hurricane. It took me six weeks to write. I would go to bed each night and dream of crashing waves. Every morning I would wake up seasick. It was the longest six weeks of my life.
I just finished the fifth book of the series, The CEO Came DOA, which will be released in September. The book ends with a wedding, Lee’s very own wedding, so needless to say I was filled with joy for days on end. I got to wear a long white gown again with a flowing tulle veil, and kiss a handsome groom. Yes, it was only in my mind, but it was a wonderful ceremony. It still brings tears to my eyes.
The next book of the series is about gourmet cooking. I’m sure I will gain ten pounds.
Writers. We’re nuts.
For more on this subject, be sure to visit these fine bloggers:
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/emotion-in-writing/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com