Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Fulfilling Facet - Emotional Influence

Tell Me a Story

Emotional writing - creating impact

"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what other men do not say in whole books." - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzshe
Emotional influence is sometimes the most ignored facet with wannabe writers. Emotion is essential, not only when linked to what characters feel about themselves and others, but more importantly, in the reaction they stir in readers.

Creative writing tips - but what is emotional impact?

Creative writing is worthless without emotion. Creating emotional impact is the only real way to cultivate empathy between readers and your story.
Enjoyment, fury, dread and anguish are the most common human emotions. Each time you find a piece of writing that sticks in your mind, it's usually spiked with one or more of these. If you want your own work to be thought of in this way, you'll have to wrench at those same feelings in your readers.
Emotional writing? So, what is the right way to go about writing a book that has sufficient emotion? How do you create such an elusive element in your readers? Naming it certainly doesn’t produce it. We can declare our protagonists irritated, anxious, broken-hearted or suchlike, but it doesn’t generate the emotion in the reader. How then do we use this intangible feature

Elements of emotional writing.

How do established authors invoke emotion? There are certain elements in creative writing that can be brought into play that have an emotional influence. It must be noted that their whole is greater than the sum of their parts. You should be prepared to include all elements to be sure of capturing this elusive quality.

  • Emotional writing - There must be consequence. The degree of emotive reaction is a direct reflection of the character’s problem and the consequences they face. Will there be incentive if the central character makes it, will there be tragedy if he doesn’t.
  • Emotional writing - There must be a strong theme. The outcome of the story must be important in some way. The story must mean something. If the predicament doesn’t matter one way or another, readers won’t be bothered about the outcome.
  • Emotional writing - There must be struggle. There must not only be consequence in the plot, there must be serious tussle both inner and outer with the character, otherwise no emotion will come from it. No matter how severe the crisis, if it is easily sorted, no one will care; no one will feel anything.
  • Emotional writing - Find that passion. Passion grows from the story’s significance. If the task is meaningless, there will be no feeling, no identity.
  • Emotional writing - Think about the atmosphere. A story should have mood, ambience, atmosphere, call it what you will. Mood comes from all the restrained emotions that arise from the material elements of your story. It’s not enough to set a house in front of your characters; we need to know how they feel about it. Is it scary, or full of love, what does it mean to them; how does it move them?
  • Emotional writing - Use the senses. Characters shouldn’t walk in a vacant space. Tell readers what is around them. Emotions can be constructed from sensory reaction even when there isn’t a problem. It won’t be a strong emotion, but it can exist as an entirety by itself.
  • Emotional writing - Writing with moderation. Never give emotive words too full rein when you’re displaying how a character feels, use moderation, it’s a good maxim. Play down the most moving events. Encounter in itself carries drama, and key sentiments become implicit without description.
  • Emotional writing - Limit your detail. Be cautious of littering scenes with too much detail. It takes only a few well-chosen words to describe a setting. Humans don’t have time to respond to every element around them, and characters should not respond to everything either. Opt for the most valuable details; the reader will fill in the rest.

Emotional writing tips - and so....

So maybe the lesson to be learned from these emotional writing tips, is to write with every single sense, including the sixth, but to write with restraint. Remember, more than enough is too much. Use your descriptive powers with self-control. Make every word count.


Sulci Collective said...

If you look up in a thesaurus eomtional terms such as 'joy' or 'sad' these have fewer synonyms than words like 'drunk' or 'rebuke'.

What does thats ay of our struggle to encapsulate our emotions?

Nice post (good, stimulating, interesting, er already veered away from an emotional response. Curse you language!)

Glynis Peters said...

A very useful list to follow. I am working on number 5 on your list at the moment. I looked around Kitty's cottage and...yawn there was no atmosphere.
Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed my visit.

Anonymous said...

I like your list - particularly the one about limited detail. It makes sense that some characters may be aware of small details in a room, but most will be oblivious to anything that doesn't trip them. Thanks for sharing this.

Just Wendy said...

What a great post! So glad I found you.

As a writer (yet to be published) your blog is like an Aladdin's Cave of advice. Good stuff...

Many thanks :)

R.B. Davidson said...

I just stumbled across this post and I found it to be very interesting and useful. I am an amatuer writer myself and need all the help I can get.

sangeeta said...

Thanks for the wonderful insight into creating emotions when writing. I have always wanted to be a writer and have recently started writing my first book. This will help me in a big way in buidling my characters.

sangeeta said...

Thanks for the wonderful insight into creating emotions when writing. I have always wanted to be a writer and have recently started writing my first book. This will help me in a big way in buidling my characters.

ajbarnett said...

Thanks, Sangeeta. So glad you found it useful - and good luck with your writing.