Evoking Emotions in Readers in a Masterful Way

In this series on masterful writing, we’re now looking at emotion. Masterful showing of emotion, masterful “telling” of emotion, and masterful evocation of emotion.

Perhaps the hardest thing for a writer to do well is to manipulate emotion. I say “manipulate” because one of the definitions of the word is “to operate in a skillful manner.” I am not using the word in its more negative connotations of insidiously controlling or affecting things or people for a harmful purpose.

We writers want to manipulate our characters and our readers. We want to masterfully evoke emotion in our readers because, as Donald Maass says in The Emotional Craft of Fiction, readers don’t just read; they respond.

Masterful writers don’t just show characters emoting and expect readers to feel the same feelings. Every writer should understand that just because a character is afraid or angry, it doesn’t make the reader afraid or angry.

Even if a writer adeptly shows a character feeling emotions, that doesn’t guarantee the reader will feel anything at all.

So it behooves writers to dig into this topic of evoking emotion, which is a slippery animal, to be sure. Continue Reading…

Masterful Telling of Emotion

Today’s guest post is by Nina Schuyler. It continues our look at masterful writing, introducing the element of emotional content in our novels. The craft of not only expressing emotion  in our characters but also evoking emotion in our readers is one of the most important things to master in fiction writing. In this post, Nina Schuyler shows us that telling about emotions can be just as powerful as showing those emotions in your characters.

Early on, when I was young and innocent and studying writing, it was vigorously pounded in my head that I must never ever tell a character’s emotion. T. S. Eliot’s “objective correlative” entered the conversation (events, objects, and actions must stand for or correlate to the desired emotion), along with fiction’s allure, which is to give readers an embodied experience—or as George Saunders tells storytellers, “Go forth and delight!”

But now, having read more, studied more, gotten older, I’ve encountered plenty of published works that tell the emotion. It’s right there, in big letters, winking at me—HE FELT. SHE FEELS—sad, happy, joyful, angry, embarrassed. And I do experience the told emotion. How is this possible? What’s going on?

The magic is in the way the telling is done. Continue Reading…

Plot Out Your Novel in Just 3 Days!

There is so much to know about crafting a solid plot.

If you’ve been following my blog awhile and studying The Writer’s Toolbox books on novel craft, you know this to be true.

Whether you’re trying to write your first novel or you’ve written a dozen, plotting is always challenging.

But that doesn’t mean it gets easier.

If you keep trying to dig holes with a teaspoon in hard-packed ground, it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been at it. It isn’t going to get easier unless you dig smarter. Continue Reading…

Recent Posts

The Key to Unlocking Your Writing Potential

The Key to Unlocking Your Writing Potential

Today's guest post is by Jason Binder. We as humans love to be private. We don’t want the world a[...]
Are You Serious about Becoming a Successful Self-Published Author?

Are You Serious about Becoming a Successful Self-Published Author?

If you've thought about self-publishing, or you are already deep in the mire, you know how daunting [...]
How to Increase Your Income as a Fiction Writer in 2018

How to Increase Your Income as a Fiction Writer in 2018

Today's guest post is by Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur. 2017 was a wild year for authors. We s[...]
Only 1 Week Left to Book Your Boot Camp!

Only 1 Week Left to Book Your Boot Camp!

Are you serious about writing terrific novels? Want to know the secrets to successful self-publish[...]
Masterful Voice in Novels Part 5

Masterful Voice in Novels Part 5

In this exploration on masterful voice, we've been looking at the role microtension plays. Microtens[...]
STRATEGIC PLANNING IN 4 EASY STEPS

STRATEGIC PLANNING IN 4 EASY STEPS

Don't wander aimlesslystrategize your writing career!

 

 

Sign up for my newsletter and get cool updates on releases, special offers, and your free ebook!

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!