We all at some point–would have finished reading a book and walked away with no feelings at all? How to Bring Emotions into Your Story ? No attachment to the characters what-so-ever, no joy in their success or sadness in their failure.
For a writer, this is one of the biggest fears.
What if the reader feels no emotion towards my book? That is about as large of failure as most writers can even imagine.
So, how do we avoid this, and how do we bring emotions into our story? A difficult question, since “emotion” is hard to define and even harder to teach people. But it is a question worth touring.
Some simple steps to bring emotions into your script—
- Ask yourself why your reader should care—
Before you start trying writing an emotionally engaging story–you have to know why it is essential that your readers are engaged.
Well, the answer could be—“Because if they are not engaged, they won’t like my book and then I’ll never sell my stories”.
It is a very noble response, and you must dig a bit deeper—-
Why must they care? What will they understand from it? If people cannot identify with or learn from it in any way, they will not care.
- Be emotional yourself– How to Bring Emotions into Your Story ? If you are not emotionally engaged in your script, then there is no way that your readers will be. This is something that storytellers have come to recognise. They were told to connect to their characters and make it “alive” through their thoughts and emotions. The same skill can be used for writing. Imagine yourself in the story and visualise what it would feel like to be this character or that.
- Come up with a Center Emotion– If you are trying to write feelings into a scene, you’ll need a centre emotion. All actions will come out of this–centre of emotion. If at all, there is more than one character in the room; you will have more than one “centre emotion.” Pick a word, an image, or a colour that makes you feel the emotion. It will keep you focused and prevent you from bleeding millions of emotions all over your page.
For whatever reason, the brain can connect the image with significant amounts of confusion, anger and determination. It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.
- Avoid being Overdramatic– Say your character has just had a great triumph.
Talk about how the sun is pouring through the clouds and seems to pierce into his heart, lightning him up and filling him with immeasurable joy.
If you feel the need to be too enthusiastic about your emotions, then you should probably look back at your story and check what was off target.
- Show instead of Tell–Do not tell that the character is angry: Show her twitching right hand and the overhang out of her chin. Do not mention the peacefulness of sitting under that tree: show the way the leaves sway in the cool breeze. Do not tell your readers about the feeling in the story; let them experience it for themselves.
- Be Precise– While you want to show your readers emotions, don’t show them too much. If a detail or feeling is not relevant to the scene or is not essential in you moving your reader in a certain way, then cut it out.
- Conversation is the key– In moments of heavy emotion, less discussion is more. It is not likely that your characters are going to sit down in a little circle and discuss their feelings. Therefore, make sure –whatever dialogue exists, matters.
It does not have to be intelligent or even make sense. It just has to make us feel. Add that to his confused, angered expression, and everybody in the audience feels like they have had their hearts ripped out. That is how it’s done.
Writing emotions into a story is a difficult job. Remember– the above are tips to help guide you: they are not hard and fast rules. Emotional writing is not entirely technical. Try not to overthink things.
Just plunge deep into your story and be ready to write hard.