Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Writer Tip #25 -- Making Feelings and Emotions Real

One of the things that will draw your reader in and make them identify with your story is the description of your character's feelings and emotions. Tell me, which example makes you care the most?

She felt disappointed when her date didn't come.

Or . . .

She let go of the curtain and sank down on the couch, disappointment cascading over her. The pit in her stomach that had grown with every passing moment was now the size of a softball, and felt just as hard.

Don't just tell your reader how your character felt:

She was sad.
He felt disappointed.
She felt miserable.
He was happy.


. . . describe their feelings, and their physical manifestations of that emotion.

Think for a minute about times in your own life when you've felt:

Pain

Sorrow

Agony

Disappointment

Fear

Anger

Joy


Take a moment to write down not only the emotions, but the physical reactions you had to the emotions. Were you so happy you cried? Were you so afraid, you trembled? Did you throw up when the pain got too bad?

But now, take it a step further. Don't just say,

She was so happy, she cried.

That's still really flat. Instead, give me:

Her joy was so intense, it completely overcame her and she sobbed huge tears of happiness.

Do you see the difference?

When you give your character an emotion, and then you give them a physical manifestation of it as well, and then you tie it together with a description, then you help the reader to feel that emotion too.

For more writer tips, go to the search bar at the top of this page and put in, "writer tips."

2 comments:

Candace Salima . . . the LDS Nora Roberts said...

Tristi, excellent advice and something every novice author should heed. Good job.

Lisa said...

Thanks for posting these tips. Since my daughter is writing, I keep telling her to check out your site. Thanks!

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