One of the most powerful writing skills an author can have is the ability to tease emotions out of the reader. Writing with emotion draws the same from your readers. Whether you’re a novelist, blogger, or writer of short stories, evoking emotions in your readers can make them feel more invested in your characters and the story as a whole.

Emotional communication is a skill that some people are better at delivering than others. As an author it is your responsibility to completely convey the emotion suited to the story. Everyone knows what it feels like to experience anger, frustration, happiness, ecstasy, and fear. Now put it in writing.

The famous axiom for fiction writers is: show, don’t tell. An easy formula is to show your character’s thoughts and actions and those thoughts will lead to emotions. In a very emotional scene, slow it down and write your character’s every thought. Show the actions. Put yourself in these scene, bare your own soul, feel the emotions.

Describe:

  • the sweaty brow,
  • that increased pulse rate or
  • that miss-step.
  1. Use specific word choice. When describing character emotions, be specific in your word choice and body language.
  2. Vary your descriptions. Describe the character’s emotions through their body language, facial expressions and actions. Illustrate how their body tenses with fear. Describe their trembling lips and watery eyes. Show rather than tell.
  3. Ensure readers identify with the protagonist. Readers experience emotions through the eyes of the characters. Make your protagonist relatable and sympathetic. The more invested readers are in the character development the more they’ll be able to identify with their own emotional experiences.
  4. Build up to intense emotions. Deep emotions are more memorable than shallow emotions. Unbridled joy is more impactful than fleeting happiness. Aching grief is more intense than minor disappointment. Make those feelings strong and passionate.
  5. Try journaling. Emotions often mirror real-life experiences. Keeping a journal can help document your own daily emotional experiences: anger, sadness, or joy.

 

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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.” 

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