Okay, I'm gonna spill. Are you guys ready for this? I feel like I need one of those Monday Night Wrestling voices. You know the kind. Arrrrre youuuu rrrrrready? Imagine a deep voice with thousands of cheering fans and grown men in spandex. Are you there? Then you're ready for this confession.
*whispers* I'm less than stellar at emotional writing.
Enter Christine, the topic-starter for this chain, and one of the best critique buddies on the planet. We started a crit group in January. She read one of my novels. What'd she say?
You guessed it: "You suck at emotional writing."
Well, not in those exact words. *wink, wink*
But she was right. She made me look at a whole new side of writing--the emotions.
Not just the where, what, who, when, and how of where the characters were and what they were doing. But the WHY. And then the HOW WOULD THEY FEEL HERE?
She'd say things like, "This section is good, but the emotions are off."
How does one fix that? By being authentic. I write YA, so I had to dig down to the repressed memories of junior high and high school. And let me tell you, those memories are repressed for a reason, people. Sure, it's easy for Christine, she works with those kids all the time.
For me? Not so much.
So what I did: I treated EMOTION as another sense. Just like we want to use all five senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch) in our writing to make it bloom and come alive, I added a Sixth Sense. And it's not dead people. (hahaha!)
It's Emotion. I use it like a spice, just like I use smell and sound and taste. I sprinkle it in throughout my writing to make sure all the senses are addressed. I believe this really gives the writing more depth, more layers, more authenticity.
I mean, after all, we want our readers to FEEL SOMETHING when they read our stuff, right? Sometimes we can do that just by our awesome narrative and dialog. Sometimes, though, we need to sprinkle in a smell to really set the scene. Or a taste to really ground them in the story. Or the emotion to make sure they stay awake until 3 AM turning pages.
I believe Emotion is the most powerful sense and shouldn't be skipped over. I think you know when you have enough. When you read it and feel a little zing go through you as if you just experienced the scene with the character in every way (meaning through sight, sound, taste, smell, tough and emotion). And if you don't know, give it to Christine! Ha ha! She'll tell you if you suck, trust me. *wink, wink, wink*
Michelle posted before me in this chain, and Annie will be up tomorrow.
How would you answer Christine's questions? Here they are: How do you add emotional depth to your stories? How do you know when you have enough emotional content? How do you keep it authentic?