I think every one of us knows a “tearjerker” when you see one. They come in many shapes and sizes. It could be a movie, a song, a television show, or even a good book. I am the first one to admit that I am a “big baby” when it comes to certain things.
I cried the first time I heard “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong; during the final episode of M*A*S*H, and at the end of Les Miserables. One of the worst times I cried is when I was writing my second book, The Dark Tides. I have own “Red Wedding” scene (which was not meant as a ripoff to Game of Thrones, since I wrote it before I even read or watch the series) where a number of main characters were killed. It was quite heart-wrenching for me, as I had grown so fond of these characters and killing them was quite painful.
Even during my editing process, I found myself in tears every time I read those pages. Even now, it’s hard to re-read it without getting choked up, but that’s the kind of emotion I want to evoke in my readers. I want them to feel that emotional depth in my stories so it causes people to react.
“There’s no crying in baseball!” — Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own
According to Dr. Michael Bader, from his article “Why We Cry at Movies,” a wide range of phenomena are resulted from movies and books. He said, “that people repress feelings and perceptions that are too dangerous to experience, but, under conditions of safety, are able to finally begin to let them out.”
The safest place we feel is in our homes, a movie theater, even in our own car. At those moments, the repressed feelings we associate with the music, words or what we see come out.
When asked what made him or her cry in such a situation, Bader found that “it might involve a parent-figure, spouse, or friend understanding the hero, or offering protection or love. Right away, I know that these feelings have been there for much of the patient’s life.”
It’s hard to cry at the moments of pure emotion, especially for a guy. I think the old adage of a big, tough guy being brought to tears at moments like this is a “common norm” from the early days, as men were meant to be big and tough. In contrast, today’s “metrosexual” or “snowflakes” are in touch with their feelings, so crying is everyday. These are two huge contrasts, but it applies to many people today.
I think it’s okay to cry when the time calls for it. The other night, I was watching Sword Art Online II on my iPad while my wife was watching Shark Tank on TV. (FYI, if you haven’t watched SAO, you should, and spoilers ahead!) It was the episode where Yuuki, a girl with AIDs who was living in the VR realm, died surrounded by her friends and all the gamers in ALO. It was quite an emotional moment. I just couldn’t help it as the tears just poured out of me. My wife looked at me as if I was crazy, crying over an anime, but I just couldn’t help it.
I think these types of emotional outbursts helps us as cope with everyday life. We laugh, we cry, we feel joy, and we feel sadness. These are the emotions that authors, like myself, hope to bring out in people when they read my stories. I want those emotions to resonate and bring out that emotional response. It’s what makes us human.
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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.