Tag Archive - Masterful Emotion

What Microtension Is and Why Writers Must Master It

Note: This post was originally posted in August on Writer’s Fun Zone here.

Tension is created by lack. Lack of understanding, lack of closure, lack of equilibrium or peace. When your readers have questions, that creates tension. When they need to know what happens next, that is tension.

Masterful writers keep their readers in a constant state of tension. And that’s a good thing.

But here’s something to keep in mind: our characters may be tense, but that doesn’t mean readers are tense in response. A character with a tightened fist or clenched jaw does not ensure readers will respond in the same way. And that might not even be the desired response a writer is hoping for.

What the characters think, feel, and show must be carefully executed to evoke the desired emotional response in readers. Continue Reading…

The Secret to Getting Readers to React Emotionally to Your Writing

Getting readers to feel something from our writing is hard. Even harder is to get them to feel complex emotions that you can’t really name. Yet, a masterful writer will accomplish this. A masterful writer knows exactly what she wants her readers to feel and will write her scenes with that goal in mind.

Hemingway said, “Find what gave you the emotion . . . Then write it down, making it clear so the reader will see it too and have the same feeling as you had.”

Why does this work? Because all humans, for the most part, have the same emotional makeup. Behavior that scares, infuriates, humiliates, or alienates one person will generate the same reaction in others. You will never get 100% of your readers to feel exactly the same, but you can come pretty darn close if you are an emotional master. Continue Reading…

Every Novel Scene Should Contain a Death

I hope that catchy title intrigues you. I’ll explain.

I’ve launched my new online course Emotional Mastery for Fiction Writers, and it goes deep into both character and reader emotion.

One very important emotional aspect of a novel is character change. But I bet you haven’t thought of change as a kind of death.

Author and writing instructor James Scott Bell says every scene should contain a death. What does he mean? He’s not talking only about literal death, which might be the case in a suspense/thriller or murder mystery. He means we want our POV character to change by the end of every scene in some small or large way.

In that moment, something should have died: a dream, an opinion, a relationship, a hope, an assumption, a fear or worry … and so on.  Continue Reading…

Page 1 of 512345»