One of the more enjoyable elements of reading a good story is feeling the stirrings of emotion. As a reader, I can cheer or boo the characters, but also sympathize and relate to what they endure in the story.
Words are powerful; they can incite rage, deep thought, even provoke tears. They can change minds, influence beliefs, and take the reader into another realm, letting them live another life, and leave them wanting for more.
But how to get that into your words? Here are some tips;
Ask yourself, what makes you feel? It is the human condition that touches the reader, letting them know they are not alone in the world, that the storyteller, the characters, share their emotion and reactions.
By writing things that we can all relate, touches upon the fact we are social creatures, needing one another, but also empathizing with others. We might not share the same intensity, or respond the same, but feelings of loss, love, anger, jealousy, etc are very universal.
Show, don’t tell. You can’t tell the reader what the character is feeling, and you won’t have to; the situations, conflict, and influences from other characters should be more than enough to help ‘show’ the high emotions of any scene.
A good example is sharing what a character behaves with that emotion, not the emotion itself. Someone feeling grief might range from dissociative feelings to anger, denial, or even a sense of disbelief. Fear takes the form of biting nails, tugging hair, or feeling sick. Rage takes shape in anything from breaking things to dead silence.
Use style to shift mood and pace. Short sentences are best for fights, but scenes that build relationship often require more detail, with sentences of length.
Direct, to the point, style of writing works best in scenes you want to move quickly, to add a sense of tension, or the shift a character who realizes how to solve the conflict. Flowery detail can paint description, illustrate deeper emotion, or share the innermost thoughts of a character.
The highest form of flattery is when a reader expresses how a story made them feel. I’ve had readers tell me how much they cared for the characters, or even how angry they became with certain scenes.
What stories made you feel? Have you ever cried when reading a story? Post in comments. I’d love to hear from you.