Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Go for the Gut - Drag Out those Emotions.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  If you don't put it out there as a writer, if you don't feel the emotions you're attempting to write into your story, your readers won't feel them either.

Here's where the 'show, don't tell' rule does apply.  Truth be told, most of us human beings guard our feelings closely, we don't feel comfortable putting them out into public.  Well, get over it.  Writers have to unlearn that deeply ingrained training. 

In order to put those emotions across to your readers, to make them really feel what you want them to feel, you must get down and deep into your character's point of view.  How to do that?  Well, put yourself in his or her place and allow yourself to feel what he or she would feel.  Everything that happens needs to be seen/felt through the lense of that character and what you've developed that character's personality to be. 

I've written and published books and written and optioned screen scripts.  They are two very different kinds of writing and it can provide a good example here.  A script conveys information by using external actions.  The hero conveys his anger by driving a car very fast down a steep hill, shifting gears with a slam and a jerk, cutting people off and roaring on, taking wild chances.  This follows a fight with his girlfriend, the heroine.  The screenwriter also has the actors who will put emotion across.  So the viewer can easily put it all together.

In a book things are different.  It's necessary to filter what's happening through the reaction of one of the characters.  It becomes viewpoint.  The scene above would translate more into: "He threw the car into gear, slammed his foot down on the accelerator and peeled off down the road. He jerked the gear shift, reveled in the car's roar of power in tandem with the pounding beat of his heart and whipped around a slow-moving car.  She'd called him an idiot!  He'd never been so furious."  The author provides the action, then gives the point of view of the hero's feelings. 

And along those lines there's a fun and strange hybrid, being an audio book with actors reading the parts and special effects added like old radio shows.  One of my books, Blown To Hell, originally published by Doubleday, then reprinted by Fitionworks as Ebook is soon to be released as such an audio book....hopefully by January.  It's a different animal, and was fun to write the script for.

Questions or thoughts?  Please feel free to post a comment. If I spot a question I'll do my best to answer it.

Meanwhile, if you'd like more tips on writing check out my Ebook Out Of Thin Air.

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