Tag Archive - Emotions

How to Effectively “Tell” Emotions in Fiction

This post originally, drawn from material in my Emotional Mastery course, ran on Larry Brooks’s blog in the summer. Reprinted here for your edification!

Many amateur writers ineffectively tell or name what a character’s emotions are. That’s often because they haven’t learned masterful ways to get the emotion across.

Telling an emotion doesn’t make readers feel or experience the emotion. It often creates more problems: the writing gets burdened with lists of emotions, and in the writer’s attempt to push harder in the hope of conveying emotion, she overdoes it. Adding to that, she might throw in all those body sensations for good measure, cramming the prose with so much “emotion” that the only thing readers feel is irritation.

Yet, there may be times when telling emotion is masterfully done. You can find plenty of excellent novels in which characters name the emotions they’re feeling. Continue Reading…

Why Writers Must Dig Deep to Mine Their Feelings

This post of mine originally ran on Positive Writer in August, 2019. Reprinted here for your enjoyment and edification!

It’s really amazing, if you stop to think about it. Readers will willingly suspend disbelief and subject themselves to the gamut of emotion, making themselves vulnerable to intense feelings.

Some readers read for the suspenseful ride. Like my husband and kids, who eagerly climb into seats on real roller coasters—they’ll even wait two hours to experience a two-minute ride just to get scared out of their wits. Some readers are perfectly fine crying, feeling miserable, or aching in commiseration as they go on a difficult journey with a fictional character they love.

Fictional, not real.

Why do so many people love to do this? I don’t know. I can only speak for myself. There is something wonderful, magical, and sublime about being made to feel deeply about something outside my normal life. Stories that remind me of what being human is all about, what love is, what loyalty is, what hope is, what being victorious looks like lift me up, confirm my humanity, bring deeper meaning to my own life. Continue Reading…

The Emotional Power of Connected Settings

Chances are, you’ve heard of deep point of view. Imagine a camera lens that zooms in for a close-up; deep POV is when the description filters directly through the point-of-view character (usually the protagonist) on a deep, emotional level.

When readers see what he sees and feel what he feels, it allows for intimate characterization and creates a shared experience in which the story comes alive through the character’s senses, thoughts, beliefs, emotional focus, and judgments.

Not every story uses deep POV, but all writers work to create a level of closeness between the character and reader, which requires a deft hand to bring about. The setting is the story element that facilitates this.

Experiencing details from the setting through the protagonist’s emotions and senses makes the reader feel truly part of the story. This means that choosing the right setting for each scene is important to not only help events unfold but increases reader-character connection. Continue Reading…

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