Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Emotional Side of Writing

There's nothing like reading a book and laughing with the characters, crying when they have a tragedy, getting chills when suspense rocks them. It's what makes us read late into the night when we should be sleeping. Gripping stories are why we can't put a book down to start dinner when we should.

What sets those kind of books apart from the rest? What makes us forget our world for just a bit as we venture into another?

The answer is emotion. We need to feel like we can relate to the protagonist in the story on a personal level. Without it, we can't connect. A storyline falls flat.

Here's some tips to help inject more emotion into your writing:

  1. Show the character's feelings.
    1. They put their hands on their hips.
    2. She slammed her fist on the table.
    3. He rubbed his neck and looked away.
  2. Dig deeper into why your character responds the way they do.
  3. Make sure your protagonist is flawed.
  4. Keep some of their past hidden until necessary. It'll keep the reader guessing as to why they act, react, or overreact.
  5. Show that your character doesn't have all the answers through their frustrations, wants, and needs.
  6. Keep their personality consistent. Avoid sudden shifts or you'll lose the reader.
  7. Allow them to have some type of emotional victory even if the story doesn't have a happy ending.

A great story has many elements, but one of the most important ones is using emotion to hurtle your story above the rest. Make us want to turn the pages. Give us something to connect with. Show us how your characters feel. If you use emotion to help tell your story, your writing won't be just words, it'll be a victory of connecting with your readers.

2 comments:

  1. Sometimes I think I do that, then go back and realize it needs more. And more. And more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A writer's work is never done. I'm running into that with my latest finished manuscript.

    ReplyDelete