Saturday, March 29, 2014

Emotional Intensity


Good storytellers deal in emotional intensity. Sharing a tale well means your readers become skinwalkers, slipping into the persona of the character whose POV is in control. Many writers have difficulty relating emotion well when they tell, not show.

There are a number of components to emotion that we often forget. Besides facial expression and voice timber, one can add physiological responses, actions, and effects. Instead of writing, "Sally got angry," try, Fury seared her throat, sparking heat into her cheeks as she slapped the desktop. 

Guts turning to water, heart racing, hands trembling, shortness of breath, hands go numb, feet get cold, dizziness, eyes watering, sounds muffled... while these sound like an apt description of swine flu, they are all physiological reactions to intense emotion--even happiness. Try having your characters experience a few, come up with new ones (although I don't recommend vomiting unless they're drunk), and see if it doesn't involve you more as a reader.

Happy writing,

~Jude
http://jude-johnson.com


4 comments:

Big Mike said...

More, more. I more examples I can steal.

BM

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I was worried about swine flu for a moment.

By putting myself into the character's soul, being her, or him; I can usually expereince a descriptive set of shows that are the best "tells."

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I was worried about swine flu for a moment.

By putting myself into the character's soul, being her, or him; I can usually expereince a descriptive set of shows that are the best "tells."

Jude Johnson said...

Mike, you make my eyes crinkle up.