1. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    Emotion

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kitbug, Dec 25, 2008.

    I always feel like when I write I'm not very good at describing emotion. I feel like I could do it if I were to go on and on about it for a very long time, but then I think everyone would just be bored with my descriptions of it. Does anyone have any good pointers for writing emotion better? (Especially sad ones, I feel those are the ones I have the hardest time portraying realistically.)
     
  2. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Maybe try to mix in actions that show strong emotions along with light description. Your readers will pickup on the sentiment and it saves page real estate for more story.
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I detest using an example of my own writing--since I'm not offering it for critique and I can't for the life of me say if it's any good--but writing emotion is more about SHOWING how the characters react to things, than about going on at length TELLING how they're feeling.

    For illustration here's a scene from my current WIP. Makwaquae is the wife of one of the bad guys, Mishosha, and throughout the story he's been depicted as a power-hungry jerk who'll even sell out his adopted grandson to get his way. I wanted to show, however, that despite all this, the connection between Makwaquae and himself is very close, so of course her death would have a huge impact on him.

    Since this is from the POV of the main character, Charmian, I can't directly say what Mishosha is feeling; I can only describe what Charmian sees him do.

    Charmian found her attention focused on the wabanos. Mishosha dropped down beside his wife and lifted her head and upper body so gently that the gesture struck her as quite strange, coming from him, but the tears in his eyes were genuine, as far as she could tell. He bared his own teeth but the expression seemed more panicked than anything; cradling Makwaquae against him, he first put his hand to her wound, as if hoping to heal it somehow, then tilted her head upward, trying to see into her eyes. Charmian saw her blink, small gasping noises escaping her, but her eyes were wide and glassy and a line of blood was trickling from her mouth. She swallowed convulsively and her hand loosely grasped Mishosha's when he took it.

    "Makwaquae...?" Mishosha murmured, his voice cracking. His own fingers were bloody by now but neither of them seemed to notice it.

    Makwaquae blinked and took a breath, and the faint glow still surrounding her wavered a little. "Mi--Misho..." Her voice trailed off and the glow around her faded away as she let out a breath, her eyes still staring skyward. Her hand slipped loose of Mishosha's and fell to the ground with a small thud.

    "Makwaquae--?" Mishosha said a little louder, his fingers digging into her shoulder; then his own shoulders jerked a little, and a second later he burrowed his head against her breast, small noises escaping him. He shook as he rocked her back and forth a little.


    Again, I'm not saying this is great writing by any means, but I wanted to show how one can SHOW emotion without just sitting there TELLING the reader that somebody is feeling, say, terrible grief and loss.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    One aspect to consider: It is virtually impossible to write emotionally-filled prose if the reader hasn't connected with the character. Empathy for the character's plight (yes, even if it is fiction and words on paper--or screen).

    The first step is to write in an engaging fashion, so that readers will have empathy or understand where the character is coming from.

    With short fiction, it is much harder. In that case some parallel or connection to an event or situation the reader can identify with, helps bring emotional connection to a piece.

    In truth, some authors are better than it than others--just as some do better with action scenes, description, etc.

    Just a few thoughts to add to the discussion.

    Terry
     
  5. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    Thanks everyone for the comments. =) I see what you all mean, I guess I'll just have to practice more.
     

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