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Monday, February 4, 2008

Emote

People read fiction for one thing above all else--emotion. They want to laugh, cry, get warm fuzzies, be surprised, be scared, be so scared they pee their pants! The problem is that too many times writers don't DELVE into their emotions. They say, "Clark was angry." or "Clara was excited." Well, so what? Those are just words. We can't FEEL it.

When it comes to emotions it's best to SHOW. It's also best to sometimes be over the top. If it's too much (which rarely happens) you can scale back.

It's also important to be creative. Help us to view these emotions in a new way. Here is an example from Anne Lamott.

"God, it was painful though, too, and the hangover was debilitating. I was deeply aware of the worm inside of me and of the grim bits that I feed it. The secret envy inside me is maybe the worst thing about my life. I am the Saddam Hussein of jealousy."

~Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions

That's less than 50 words, and even though this is non-fiction we can FEEL it. We can relate. We can understand.

So take time to go through your book. Highlight the emotions. Are you just telling? Delete that and rewrite it so we can FEEL it. Is it cliché? Think of a way to come up with something unique. Your reader will love you for it.


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5 comments:

God's Servant, Kellus' Wife said...

Talk about Descriptive Writing! I love it! I was just talking to my husband about that very thing the other day. I try to practice this as much as possible...I do want readers to really "feel" where I was coming from. Amazing!

Again, I'm so blessed by your blogs Tricia! Thanks so much for posting this one today!

Sincerely,
Kennisha

God's Servant, Kellus' Wife said...

Today's Writing Goal:

I'm going to take advantage of number four on the list and write what my writing goal for today is.

Today, I am working on editing Chapter Four. Chapter Five is already written because it is composed of letters that my husband and I wrote to each other, when we were at a distance from each other.

My plans, are the finish editing Chapter Four and then move onward to Chapter Six- at least the first few pages.

Hopefully this is something I can achieve today. I'm so proud of myself because I just recently set a schedule that I am trying to stick to. Mon-Friday 6-7pm devoted to writing. My hubby is home from work and relaxed by then to keep an eye on the baby while I had my time to write. I'm praying I can be consistent with that!

Thanks again for the blog and for your encouragement!

God Bless,
Kennisha

Ann Bale said...

I agree that it is good to express emotions. But it can be hard to get the balance right. That's because different readers react differently to different styles of writing. Some relate well to outpourings of emotion; others find that "gushy" and prefer a detached style. It depends partly on your personality, your background, culture and experiences.

Tricia Goyer said...

Kennisha,

That's AWESOME about making a plan! Yahoo! Keep us updated.

Ann, you're completely right. The balance is tricky. I think the important thing is to *show* emotion so the reader feels it instead of blabbing on and on and making it seem to gushy. Good observation!

God's Servant, Kellus' Wife said...

Hi Tricia,

I'm trying my hardest. Last night I finally finished half of what my goal was. Although it was still half, I think it was a pretty good accomplishment for the day, considering everything else that went on that day. I'm very excited about beginning Chapter 6 today and look forward to moving on with it. Thanks again Tricia!

Ann,
I totally agree too. What's interesting though is that I've read books where there were absolutely no emotion shown...and I couldn't picture myself there. That's one thing that I try my hardest to do through my writings. I try to write it in such a descriptive way so that readers can imagine themselves there and feel what the characters feel- humor and all. I agree Tricia, balance is the key!

Have a blessed day,
Kennisha