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The 3 Ways to Show Emotion in Your Characters

This month I’m launching my new online video course: Emotional Mastery for Fiction Writers.

Let me just share a tiny bit of what you’ll learn in the more than six hours of intense instruction.

One of the most important emotional components of a novel or short story is the showing of emotion in a character. It’s not easy to do well. Often writers cram in tons of body sensations and physical tells, hoping to get the emotion across. But that is overkill.

What’s needed is masterful description of “showing emotion” in addition to revealing a character’s thoughts.

Utilizing body language should be minimal, original, and targeted, for best effect.  Continue Reading…

Mastering Emotion a Must for Fiction Writers

One of the biggest complaints I hear from literary agents is the manuscripts they read fail to move them.

They read terrific plots, steamy romance, and venture into creative sci-fi worlds and they feel nothing. Blah. Boring.

The stories are not engaging them. They are not responding emotionally.

That’s a bad thing. And when your readers feel this way, when they dig into your novel, that’s bad too.

But here’s the thing: getting readers to not only feel something but feel complex emotions, specifically triggered by a writer, takes real talent on that writer’s part. It takes mastery. Continue Reading…

Action That Evokes Emotion in Your Readers

Have you ever read a passage in a novel that made you cry? Stirred up indignation? Real terror? I am often moved by passages I read in both fiction and nonfiction. Masterful writers can wrench emotional reaction from me even with random passages.

We’re told to get readers to bond with our protagonist within the first couple of pages, something few writers can do well. Yes, we might get readers interested in our characters and even riveted by their personalities and actions in the opening scenes, but do we truly care for them? Depending on your genre and story, you might not want readers to care for your protagonist all that much (at the start).

As we grow attached to characters throughout the reading of a great novel, we care more about them. And that makes it easier for emotion to be evoked in us. All along the way, a writer must carefully manipulate readers’ emotion, in a deliberate fashion, to try to get them to feel what he wants them to feel. Continue Reading…

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