Out of Focus . . .

by Nicole Petrino-Salter

You know how frustrating it can be to see out of focus images or because you need your glasses to clarify the sharpness of what you’re viewing.

Isn’t it true that writing sometimes produces those out of focus moments? A striking character morphs into blandness. Following a shocking scene, the story drifts. The calm bursts into chaos for no discernible reason other than the process has become confused and the images blurred.

As we create emotion, we’re often subject to our own. Unable to separate them from characters or story turns, we experience a pouring out of soul breaches. Stress, boredom, even depression, weave their way into characters and scenes. Melancholy, hopelessness, sorrow – whether based on reality or fabricated in our minds – all seem inescapable at times and inappropriate at the particular insertion where they’ve appeared.

We all know those emotions, whether real or imagined, contribute huge value to characters, scenes, and plots, many of them producing the precise reason our work hits hard where and when it’s supposed to. But unrestricted and out of order, those same emotions can drive our story to an early grave and kill off the desirability of characters who are supposed to be alive and well.

I can testify to you that I do some of my best (at least in my opinion) work when a kind of melancholy takes over. It’s far from hopelessness, but it’s a real view of the character of mankind, the state of planet earth, and the not-too-distant, although unknown, end of life or at least life as we’ve known it. Have I depressed you yet? I’m just sayin’: that’s me. I can infuse this realization into characters, and either they will or won’t search for relief and hope. And we all know the only place it’s available.

So, how ’bout you? Are you familiar with being out of focus? Have you experienced the utter frustration of blurry images and searched for the magnification which will bring them back into focus?

My experience proved to me that first, there’s a purpose in the out of focus process. Second, there’s only One who can clarify the images. And that happens in His time. Forcing clarity can produce formulaic prose – and behavior. But seeking focus can produce depths of soul-searching, a requirement for writing fiction.

Nicole Petrino-Salter writes love stories with a passion. Devoted to Jesus Christ, her family, friends, and pets, you can visit her most days at her blog hopeofglory.typepad.com or here.