How to Write from Felt Experience

“When someone finds just the right words to express their deeper felt sense, there is a feeling of connection, rightness and truth. Gendlin calls this the forward movement of a felt sense and believes that this is the basis of what works in psychotherapy. This is the moment of felt meaning.”

I’ve read those words over and over and it doesn’t explain what felt experience is to my satisfaction. It really is hard to explain. But I can give you an example:

Once I had a friend who whenever I began to describe a book would turn his face away. So I wrote a flash fiction as follows:

The Stutterer
Four men tell jokes. Three are good tellers of jokes, the fourth one is not. He stutters and often doesn’t tell the right punch line. When the stutterer is telling a joke, two of his friends turn their heads away, embarrassed. The third friend does not. He waits patiently, full of heart.

In this flash fiction, I knocked the word embarrassment around until the fiction ended with “full of heart.” It felt to me that it couldn’t end badly, so I ended it with a positive ending.

Sue Powers has had many stories and flash fictions published over the years. One was published in Saturday Evening Post. On Wednesday evenings she’s now teaching Writing the Short Story via email.

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