One of my favorite actresses is and always will be, Brittany Murphy.
I suppose I connect to the goofy, fun characters she often portrays, as well as the darker ones. One of my favorite of her films is a lesser known one called "The Ramen Girl". It's a movie about a girl named Abby that moves to Tokyo to be with her boyfriend, who shortly after she arrives, dumps her and ditches her. She decides to stay in Tokyo and learns the art of making Ramen. By the way, I don't mean the cheap $0.60 ramen you get when you are in college or severely lacking funds.
She finds this Ramen Shop while she is crying over the stupid boyfriend and they give her a bowl and it soothes her. The next day she comes back, has another bowl but this time she breaks out in a fit of giggles, as does another patron. After begging the owner to teach her, he agrees but every time she makes Ramen, something is missing. It's too bland, it has no soul. No heart to it. The owner's wife then tells Abby that because she has no love to share, being heartbroken over her boyfriend, that she needs to share her tears.
So what does Abby do? She makes a batch of Ramen as she is crying her eyes out. Almost immediately after tasting her Ramen, each of her friends at the Ramen shop end up completely melancholy and crying as they sit and eat.
Aside from this being one of my favorite movies, what does it have to do with writing?
Plenty. When it comes to writing a story, one of the biggest things that keeps me reading is the emotion. When the emotion in the story feels real, you are pulled into it, you are feeling those feelings along with the main character.
If they are giggling, so are you, and if they are heartbroken, your heart breaks for them as well. When you are writing with emotion, people will feel it. Many times when I write, I sit there and really think about how my character is feeling in that moment, and then I let myself feel it. If they are annoyed, I might think about the person that cut me off in traffic and nearly caused me to wreck.
Suddenly, I'm grinding my teeth, my pulse is jumping. If they were devestated, I might think about the last time a loved one died, or how it would feel to lose the ones I have now, and maybe even get a bit misty-eyed.
It's the heart-pumping, fist-clenching, tear-jerking emotions that every story needs to keep the reader enthralled. If you feel like your story might be lacking emotion, then maybe you too, should cry into the Ramen.
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