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How to Write Emotion: Ways to Evoke Your Readers’ Emotion

how to write emotion

“People don’t turn to stories to experience what you, the writer have experienced — or even what your characters have. They read to have their own experience.”

- David Corbett

Evoking emotion to your content or story has long been an essential ingredient in putting together a great recipe for an impactful story. It develops engagement and an intimate connection between you and your readers. Readers read not because they want you to tell them a story. Rather, they want you to invite them in playing a role in your story.

That’s the kind of involvement they want to sign up with. Nobody cares about what you say until you care about including them in your plot.

There’s something about emotions that make it so crucial to storylines.

Emotion is an element that ties your story to your readers. It is especially seen when your audience can relate to your characters in terms of experience or the emotions felt. It gives a sense of belongingness.

Without the presence of the different emotional extremes, your story falls flat and lifeless. Books are supposed to give life to readers. As an author, it is your responsibility to make that happen.

What do you want them to feel or experience after they read your book? Aside from imparting moral lessons and wisdom, what emotion do you want them to feel at the end of the story?

Truth is, you can have the best plot in the entire globe but still not make it because of your monotonous approach to your character’s emotions. The good news is, there’s a way to get rid of that. Let’s start by learning effective ways on how to write emotion!

Introduce your character’s personality

Before you make the attempt to employ your emotional devices, first, make sure the reader knows or identifies your character. Usually, the reader won’t get emotionally invested if there’s no attachment established. Help your readers identify your characters.

Show don’t tell

Pretty basic but this speaks volumes. No one gets emotionally disturbed by simply telling your audience that your protagonist is scared. Show them what it’s like to be scared through body language or foreshadowing. Your protagonist at that very moment might have felt fidgety or trembling. This idea lets your audience experience what your character is experiencing.

Your choice of words matter

Don’t confuse your readers by putting a naïve, church-girl into a scene where she lets out a cuss word out of the blue. It would rather make them think that there’s something off about the girl or they’ll start doubting if you know your characters very well.

In building characters, it’s essential to frame an outline and examine each of their personality, backstory, childhood, or even the way they talk or dress. Remember that writing gives you the authority to manipulate your reader but not letting them feel that manipulation.

Give them a sense of urgency

You can pull this off in situations where you let your character arrive at a decision under a period, or make them choose between a bad or worse choice in a very limited time. This increases tension and nail-biting moments for your readers.

Just make it happen

Don’t hold back any emotional-stirring scenes, whether it be losing your most-loved character in the story. This is perfect timing to create an emotional drive to your audience by letting them experience what the character felt. It even impacts more on them if the reader is emotionally invested in this character. After all, you’re only writing fiction. No harm is done in real life.

Give an element of surprise

Most authors fall to the trap of clichés but it’s time for you to cut the cycle. Give your story a twist that’s unsuspecting or that’s beyond to what they anticipated of your closing lines. The surprise element is always the best jaw-dropping moments.

Show some snippets of the coming scenes

Tease your readers with clues or Easter eggs of what’s to come. It’s the anticipation that gives a dramatic flow as you reel on to the next series of events.

These are only some of the approaches on how to write emotion and trigger emotional responses to readers. Don’t hesitate to experiment and mix your readers’ emotions. The goal is to make them emotionally invested in your characters that will take them to an emotional rollercoaster ride they won’t forget.

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Flynn Hannan

Flynn Hannan

Bibliophile , Senior Indie Editor at Writers Republic

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