Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rules For Writing: No Tears

I’ve heard this rule that you should never write about tears. No “tears lingered on her lashes”, “a single tear fell down her cheek”, “tears blurred his vision”, etc. I’m sure you could come up with a thousand other versions that you’ve probably read in books by some very well-known authors. 

According to this rule, any mention of tears is a big mistake; a literature crime. A writer should never do this!

I don’t believe in this rule...

"Tears are words that need to be written.” - Apulo Coelho
Books may be fictional to some extent, but they are based in realism. The characters in fiction may not be real, but they are portrayed as real and real people cry. It’s what we do when we’re upset, sad, angry, and even happy. And what happens when we are emotionally compromised? Our tear ducts inflame, tears are produced, and we cry.


Photo by Chrys Fey

If one of your characters is grieving the loss of a loved one, a marriage, or just went through something a stressful, they could be so upset that they could breakdown and cry. Being extremely happy or overly enraged can cause the same effects. If you think you (or any person in general) would cry after experiencing what one of your characters has just gone through then it is your duty as the writer to create an authentic story for your readers by letting your characters cry too. 
When you’re reading a book, I hope you notice the vivid descriptions that plant an image in your mind of the characters and what they do. I also hope that you use the same strategy when you are writing. Descriptions are vital to create a story and prose is essential to optimize a reader’s experience.
See: Writing Good Prose
You should always describe everything you visualize while you’re writing your book so your readers can visualize it too. And that includes telling them what happens when your characters cry, which involves what? That’s right! Tears.

Don’t be afraid to use tears in your writing, but you should avoid cliches by being unique. Your readers won’t mind if you write about tears in your story (I know I don’t!) and the only opinion that really matters is your own!


QUESTIONS: Do you believe this writing rule is ridiculous or a gem? 
Do you use “tears” in your writing?


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