One of the most important items in writing.
Showing emotion, to me, was always one of the most important ingredients in a novel. I even wrote articles on editing another author's work and the disappointment I felt at the lack of emotion in the piece. No anger, no distrust, nothing. Just a whole lot of happy, happy in a murder mystery. Everyone loved everyone else meaning there was a true lack of conflict. Without conflict the novel lacked that page turning quality so necessary in murder mysteries and psychological horror. It was bland, dull and I'm afraid of the consequences of it happening to me.
You see, I'm close to making the same mistake. Now I have to ask myself if I truly forgot the part about conflict or just turned my mind away. Lately I've noticed that watching action adventure or horror movies on TV has been a chore. Mainly because when I feel the main characters are about to be thrust into a bad situation, I switch channels. It seems I've reached a point where facing that true conflict I'm always preaching about has become uncomfortable.
This is not good for any author. The last two novels I've worked on are/have taken forever. I finished the third novel in my mystery series--Vengeance--and it took over a year. Now I'm floundering through a horror novel because the amount of needed friction is bothering me. Is it because I've gone soft on my characters? That I don't want them hurt? That I don't want anyone hurt? And yet, I have to force myself to remember this is fiction, not fact. Although I do possess a certain fondness for my central characters, it's not like I'm harming people in real life.
My point in writing this article is this: Sometimes your writing suffers or becomes a grinding miasma of months or years until completion because you change as a human being, and that change affects your writing. It's only now that I'm accepting what's been happening to me. Most change is good, but not when you've had many dark side novels published and you find yourself pulling back from the sort of conflict used in these novels.
It's easy for me to ignore my emotional changes and say, "Oh hell. I taught Creative Writing for years. The eternal block can't be my fault." Then you wake up and face the facts that your writing hasn't changed. Rather you've changed emotionally and that's affecting what you love to do the most--write.
So now I put on the blinders that will make me stay focused on the necessary ingredients in my craft and try again. At this point it's all I can do. Wish me luck.
By the way, Vengeance had the same amount of conflict as my other novels, so I pulled it off. Now I have to do it again and again I ask, wish me luck.