How to use powerful emotional writing to engage a reader

I’ve been reading a lot about how to show what my characters are feeling.

Putting emotions on paper, in words that pull in a reader is not as easy as one might think. From lovers, friends, enemies, coworkers, monsters, and strangers all experience emotions and we need to show them to the reader.

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”—Jack Kerouac

Luckily, there are several good writers who know just what I need to do.

A little food for thought…

  • Fear, anger, doubt, joy is universal emotions. Help your reader remember when they felt those same emotions. This enables the reader to connect with your characters.
  • There are two types of emotions. Primary and Secondary.
    • Primary is the first initial reaction, which is an unthinking, instinctive response. The Primary response often disappears as fast as it appeared, giving way to…
    • Secondary reaction.  Replacement by secondary emotions can complicate the situation, often making it difficult to understand the circumstances. For instance, fear turns to anger back to fear and then to flight.
  • Don’t forget the backstory that formed your character’s emotions. The biological, psychological and social factors led them to feel the way they do.
  • Remember to use inciting incidents and circumstances also shape a character’s emotions.
  • What is going on in the story to reinforce a character’s response?
  • What protective trait does the character have that will bring them to the other side and hopefully a good ending?

If you want to get a few great tips and examples of emotional writing, take a minute and click on these links.

The Connection between Character Emotion and Reader Empathy  in Writing for Life

Primary and Secondary Emotions by Changing Minds.

7 Tips to Crafting Emotionally-Meaty Monsters by Staci Troilo  

The 3-Act Emotional Arc For Showing Shame In Fiction by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Deepening Character Complexity with the Help of Psychology by Writing Coach

 

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AND STOP BY JEAN’S WRITING ANYTIME, I’LL LEAVE A LIGHT ON. 

 

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How to know difference in your voice and a characters

Sounds hard right?

It did for me. I found myself making the process harder than it needed to be. Between my WIP, blog, and branding I tied myself in knots.

Turns out I just needed to KISS.

NO! Not smooching. Good grief, get your mind out of the gutter. 

But KISS as in – keep it simple stupid. I was trying too hard. Complicating the writing in search of my voice, when I had it all along.

After reading the following article, I rewrote the first chapter of WIP and pulled to the forefront, my voice.

What I learned from  

  • Writers (Authors) voice is how you decide to tell a story and is the same from book to book.
  • Just as we grow and change over the years, so does an authors voice, because our voice is an extension of ourselves and what is important in a writers life.
  • Character voices change from book to book. After all your not introducing the same person over and over unless in a series.
  • Branding is your persona and applies to our writing and not just advertising. Your book branding lets readers know what type of story they will find when they pick up your book. Scary, suspense, romance…

Lisa goes into a lot more detail on her website. Be sure and click the link below and read more.

In the meantime, I’d like to know…

Have you struggled with writer’s voice?

Do you often mix up character and writer voice?

How did you discover your writer’s voice?

Has your voice changed or evolved over the years? 

How To Discover Your Author Voice And Why You Probably Already Know It  by 

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AND STOP BY JEAN’S WRITING ANYTIME, I’LL LEAVE A LIGHT ON. 

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