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

 

PLEASE TAKE ANOTHER MINUTE AND LOOK ME UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA BY CLICKING ON THE LINKS BELOW.

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

 

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