I've probably whined--I mean, blogged--about this before, but one of Steve's recent blogs and something I did the other day brought it up again.
See, I've been looking through my many works-in-progress, trying to figure out which one to focus on (get out of my lazy funk and finish something already) and I came across something interesting. I hadn't touched a number of my files for some time, and some of the ones I'd remembered as being good, were fairly blah--a few even downright bad. But there was one that I remembered as being boring crap, which actually held my attention and made me care about the characters in just a few pages. I was surprised, because I had abandoned that work some time ago on the basis that it was too boring.
After some contemplating, I realized why I thought it was much better than the others upon re-reading. It was written from real emotion, based on deep feelings that I had experienced, and that made it ring true. The situation was complete fiction (a selkie and a summer cottage) but the emotion was real, and that made all the difference.
Everywhere, I find the advice to "dig deeper" - go for the gut emotional appeal. It takes courage to do that. I find it very hard (being such a coward and all.) I've abandoned other works because the emotional toll was so great, and I'm a little suspicious that may have been what was truly behind my abandoning the selkie story. It wasn't boring - it was painful.
So I applaud those of you who dig deep, look closer, pull out the hard truths and put them out there for everyone to see. Good on ya.