Become an Emotional Writer

Recently, a friend of mine emailed a question about how to let the reader in on what another character other than the main character is feeling. I promptly answered, and then realized it would also make a great topic for a blog post. I haven’t touched on emotional writing for awhile, so here we go. Let’s dive into how to become an emotional writer.

Ever read or written a sentence like this…..

“You can’t be serious? How could you do that? Roger replied angrily.

OR

“Wow. Would you look at that?” Madison said. I could tell she was surprised.

On the surface there’s nothing really wrong with these sentences. But from a creative writing standpoint, well… they aren’t that spectacular either. Mostly, because these sentences are telling the reader what’s going on instead of showing it. The reader doesn’t want to be told how the characters are feeling, they want to feel it for themselves. One of the best way to accomplish this is to give emotional cues.

What’s an emotional cue?

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Reblog: Overcoming the Re-Write Rut

I stumbled across this post on re-writing and couldn’t help but share. This post pretty much sums up what I’ve been doing for the last few months. Enjoy!

Overcoming The Re-Write Rut (via http://www.sarenastraus.com)

Well, it sure is cold here in the North East, but I haven’t been hibernating. I’ve been re-writing my young adult novel. As a mom, full-time attorney and writer, something has to give and if I need to write, it usually has to be other writing…

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Writing Filters to Use: The Big Picture Filters

Okay, so the initial first draft of your short story or novel is completed. Congratulations! Throw a big party. Pat yourself on the back. That was a lot of hard work. Then things calm down, and you decide to sit down to work on draft number two. You take a gander at your masterpiece to discover it isn’t as glamorous as you first thought. Sure, you knew it needed work, but not that much! Where to begin? What to do? The text before you becomes blurred. It gets hard to breath, and you wonder if maybe this might be what insanity feel like. But before you commit yourself to an insane asylum, there’s hope, and it’s as simple as just a little focus.

That’s where writing filters come in. It’s the process of keeping a few things (usually 2 to 4) in mind while going through subsequent drafts of a story. These “filters” help narrow things down so you can focus on what needs to be done instead of having a panic attack. Sure, there might still be a few panic attacks here and there, but at least you can move through the muck of your jumbled mess. There is a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere, and using writing filters can help distract you until that light can be glimpsed.

Character/Scene Tracking With Scrivener Tags

This is a great article on character arc and how to track characters using the novel management software Scrivener (which I use and love, love, love).

John Castle

One of the fundamental applications of tagging in Scrivener is one that I haven’t touched on yet, but it’s extremely powerful.

Most writers know the power and utility of character arcs. Readers want to see not so much what happens to our protagonist and stakes characters but what they do about it — but the real meat of the story, what really delivers on the premise and what readers will either love or hate about your story when all is said and done, is how these characters are changed by what has happened to them and what they’ve done about it.

Example: Steve Rogers isn’t Captain America at the beginning of Captain America: The First Avenger. He isn’t even Captain America after Dr. Erskine whammies him with the super-soldier serum. Even after he’s met his original goal of being deployed and is hawking war bonds on stage in his costume…

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