Character Transformation Through Emotion #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #AmWriting
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Thank you Raimey!
When faced with a major turning point in your life, what did you do? How did you respond? How long did it take you to come to terms with this event?
I think we’re all afraid of failure at some level.
Our characters in our books are the same. They feel. They react. They make bad choices and are forced to face fear. Fear causes change. Fear makes our characters break and grow.
This break also draws the reader in, coaxing us to read on, gripping the pages with worry as we wonder whether our characters will be okay. We want to know how they will respond, and hopefully they will come out in the end on top.
Deep into my second draft of my working manuscript, I’m analyzing emotion in scenes. I’m trying to decide how my character feels at the beginning of the chapter. I’m tracking the shift in emotion when faced with shock of an event or discovery. I’m also using tips to determine if the emotion is changing as the plot thickens and if the character is in fact growing the way she should.
A great article in writer’s digest by author David Corbett on emotion verses feeling really made me think.
He said, “People don’t turn to stories to experience what you, the writer, have experienced—or even what your characters have. They read to have their own experience. Our job is to create a series of effects to facilitate and enhance that experience.”
So how do we do this?
I recently purchased two books on writing for emotion by K. M. Weiland. I’ll let you know next month what I learn.
In the meantime, I’ll share some tips from two online resources. One by author David Corbett, a guest writer for Writer’s Digest, and the second article comes from author Hannah Heath.
The Anchor Technique
As you write an emotional scene, have some writing prompt for the emotion important to your character. Maybe a picture that elicits a certain feeling in you as you think about the issue or action this character is about to face or is facing as you write. I love this suggestion! Thank you author Hannah Heath. Songs work too.
Dialogue Mirrors Emotion
In the heart of great emotional conflict, dialogue doesn’t have to make sense. Distress, worry, or grief doesn’t tend to be logical. Dialogue probably won’t by long and verbose or perfect either.
Character Emotion at the Beginning, Middle and End
Where does your character stand as you start the scene? What happens as the event unfolds? Analyze the intensity. Measure it against earlier reactions. Is it stronger depending on length of the journey? Is it worse? Better? How or Why?
Corbett states: “Evaluate the feeling. Is it right or wrong to feel this way? Proper or shameful? What would a more refined, stronger, wiser person feel?”
Lastly, Emotional Impact on Identity
Corbett states, “What does this feeling say about the character or the state of her life? Has she grown or regressed? Does she recognize the feeling as universal, or does it render her painfully alone?”
Brilliant thoughts? I thought so. To visit more of his tips, visit the link to Writer’s Digest.