1. Stevedunks
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    Stevedunks New Member

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    True emotion

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Stevedunks, Aug 5, 2011.

    Hey all, first post time! Ok so basically, i have been planning an epic fantasy series for about 4 years now complete with twists and shocks everywhere, however i have hit a snag in my writing.

    One of the focuses of my style of writing as an author is to bring out hard emotions in people, to feel the happiness, sadness, distress etc that my characters feel. However, i am really struggling in one particular chapter on how to make the situation most effective.

    The basics are: a mentally challenged character (big, fluffy, lovable etc) sacrifices himself to save the MC. However, i don't want an instant death, i want him to show (through action and speech) how scared he is. I also want to show how the other characters pity him and respond to him dying.

    Any suggestions on how to achieve this are very welcome!
     
  2. Mikeyface
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    Mikeyface Member

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    Wow, that's quite an interesting predicament you're working yourself into.

    If it were me, I would probably attempt to find some way to link those emotions to a simplistic character trait specific to the "big guy" in question.

    Ex. every time the character gets scared he sings a song from his childhood.

    That way, when the moment arrives for the sacrifice and the fear to take the reader away with them, you can portray it in a different light. He sings the song per usual, but pausing, trying to remember the words. You can make us feel everything at stake by allowing us to do the math on our own. The audience will fill in the blanks for you, and as a result, be much closer to the emotion of the situation.

    Cheers!

    -m,
     
  3. Stevedunks
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    Stevedunks New Member

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    That's a fantastic idea which fits right in. Thanks a lot!
     
  4. Darran
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    Darran Member

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    Hi,

    Not sure if this helps, but here goes: try describing emotions in a way that the reader can relate to. For example something very simple, that is open to their Interpretation (if that makes sense) feelings felt, sensations that are common to all of us. Not sure this helps, its hard to convey with text but good luck :)
     
  5. Red Diamond
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    Red Diamond New Member

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    Hi. First-time poster, so I hope I can contribute something in my own way.

    Has this character been in the series for long? Is he an established character with a background or is he a peripheral character?

    The reason I ask is because the situation could obviously be handled in many different ways. If he's an established character, it might be a good idea to make him as three-dimensional as possible; show his how he thinks and acts in different situations, give him feelings and emotions and perhaps certain ways of dealing with stressful situations early on to establish how he will react when his number's up.

    You could tell the story of his sacrifice through the emotions of those present, show how it impacts others.

    Is his input merely tolerated or actively encouraged? This will determine how others react when he is making the ultimate sacrifice. If he's a well-loved character, the death scene will have that much more of an impact. And then there's perspective.

    From which point-of-view will his demise be told: first-or third-person? Who will be present? How well do they know him? How will they behave? They're all contributing factors.

    Character traits are an interesting way of showing how stressful a time someone is having, and I like Mikeyface's idea. Perhaps your character chews his fingernails in stressful situations, and his friend(s) gently rebuke him for it. Maybe he chews them to the point that he draws blood when he's about to sacrifice himself, but doesn't earn a scolding for it since the other character(s) know what he is about to do.

    Example:

    Character A looks down at the thumbnail he has been chewing and notices the small trickle of blood on his thumb. He looks up wide-eyed at character B, who always tells him to stop biting his nails, expecting a gentle scolding, as usual. Character B looks from the thumbnail to A's eyes and then turns his/her head, choking back emotions. "That's all right," B says gently. "Sometimes these things happen."

    Just throwing mud against a wall for you, hoping some of it sticks.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You will constantly hear, "Show, don't tell." In general writing it's overly simplistic advice. You need a good balance between showing and telling to take the best advantage of both.

    However, for portraying the emotional state of characters in all the subtle variations, showing is unmatched.

    Think of all the ways you perceive the emotions of people around you. You don't need to hear Ellen declare, "I am furious." You don't need to overhear Michael B telling Mike R how much he detests Anton's haughty attitude. You see Ellen hammering the keys on her laptop, and you see her tight jaw and narrowed eyes (which she keeps tightly focused on the laptop screen). You see Michael B shaking his head and giving Anton a dirty look behind his back after one of Anton's proclamations.

    This may help: Show and Tell
     

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