The Will to Power

Here’s another sentence from a published book: “By sheer force of will, she typed in the access code and held her breath.”

I think understand this emotion, but is this a good way to describe it? I remember in other stories that characters willed themselves to continue. They . . . had . . to hang . . . on . . . (gasp)! How do you think pushing against emotions should be described?

4 thoughts on “The Will to Power”

  1. Lars, you have nothing to worry about.

    Phil, that’s a good question. I suppose I favor vivid description of the pain, difficulty, obstacle… whatever it is being being battled. An imaginative reader can supply the experience of fighting against giving up just fine if the difficulty of what is being faced is comminucated.

    I might say something like “Every ill-considered action she had ever made flashed through her mind as she faced the monitor, hands on the keyboard, ready to enter the access code. Transpose two elements of the long string of gibberish letters and numerals and (insert peril here); get it right and she still had to (do something difficult and scary).

    Now that she was seated, fatigue settled over her like an anaesthetic taking hold. Her body and mind yearned for sleep and escape from the desperate action of the last three days.

    She took a deep breath and began typing.

  2. The situation is not well defined in the sentance therefore it is very difficult to make a judgement call. More details are definitely needed. It is a life threatening situation for example or is the person simply trying not to get caught in an awkward moment.

    The sentence as it sits by itself seems a bit over dramatized and out of place.

    I agree, “sheer will” belies an act that is life threatening, perilous, …

    Thanks for an interesting thought.

  3. In this case, it was a dangerous, but I don’t think perilously dangerous, situation. The character’s emotions seemed to be close to Aitchmark’s description. She’s in an airlock, about to step onto the Martian surface in high wind and darkness, but she seems to be afraid of what she may find out there instead of the hazardous climate.

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