Thursday, March 10, 2016

Using Emotion, Conflict and Tension in your writing.

A while back, I took a course offered by Cheryl St. John, a very talented and multi-published author. I learned so much, I asked her permission to share some of the material with you and she graciously agreed.

I can't explain the need for emotion much better than Cheryl.  "A story without strong emotions is a not story brought to life."

It's true.  Readers want to feel, and unless you add emotions for them to share, they aren't going to remember your work.  By using words that trigger emotions, you can engage continued purchases.  Find words that evoke mental pictures and feelings.

I'm a big fan of my Thesaurus, because I get annoyed when writer's use the same word over and over within a few paragraphs.  Sometimes, duplication is used for emphasis, but to me, the constant use of one word indicates laziness.

There are many words that share the same meaning, for example, if you want to show interest and want words that emphasize the meaning, try:

Alert
Betwitched
Captivated
Concerned
Devoted
Eager
Fascinated
Impressed
Turned On
Yearning
Zealous

There are tons to show someone feeling threatened or insecure:
Abused
Aching
Agonized
Bitter
Burdened
Cheated
Cheerless
Cold
Condemned
Crushed
Dark
Deceived
Dejected
Depressed
Deprived
Despondent
Destructive
the list goes on and on.  To give you an example of how a few simple words can change your story, let's see which your like best:

Jane, threatned against someone breaking into her house, locked the door.

Now again...with more emotion and showing the reader Jane's insecurities:

Given the rash of burglaries in the neighborhood, Jane agonized over someone breaking into her home.  Jittery fingers manipulated the deadbolt until a distinctive click sounded.

In the second example, can't you feel Jane's apprehension and get a better sense of her concern? Remember...don't be repetitive.

I'll be sharing more examples from Ms. St. John's awesome class in future posts, but since she may not offer personal instruction again soon, I highly recommend her book,

My opinion:  One of the problems I see today:  a lot of people who self-publish believe they were born knowing how to write a book.  That's so untrue.  There is a right of passage to becoming a seasoned author, and people like Cheryl are who we can turn to to learn.  Thanks, pal, for letting me look smarter than I am.

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