Tag Archives | emotion in writing

Heart-on-your-sleeve writing.

“People look to be moved.” – Kara D.

“I love that you wear your heart on your sleeve.”  Kara D.

I love how Danelle is honest. Yet, she’s not trying to manipulate the judges. You can see how bad she wants this and the hard road it took her to get to this spot.

The judges saw it too. She was real. And she had the singing talent to back it up.

Behind your writing, whether it’s your blog or your story, you need to be real. Honest. The readers will connect to that. A writer could have all the skills in the world but without real emotion in their story and in their words, the book will probably fall flat.

Um, yeah. So how do I do that? Here’s a list that helps me. I’m sure there are more ways.

1. Know your character. Know her goals, her motivation. Know her backstory. You need to know the core emotions and why she feels them. And then show this in your story without telling.

2. Use word choice to set the tone and mood. (I think an excellent example of this is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, but also, on the humorous side, the Chet Gecko series by Bruce Hale.)

3. Use well-placed internal thoughts that reveal history, inner conflict, or sides to your character that no other character knows. Don’t just use thoughts to tell and summarize.

4. Use dialogue. Sentence length. Word choice (again).

5. Use body language.

6. Use description. How your character reacts to and views her setting (and other people) should reflect her emotional state.

7. Use well-placed backstory.

How do you build honest emotion in your writing without it coming across as contrived? Really. I want to know.

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