One of the most potent writing skills an author can possess is the ability to cause readers to empathize and feel with their characters. When readers choose a book they plan to be transported to a different place. Depending on the genre, it may be a different time or the same time, a different earthly culture or some alien culture, or even a whole new fantastical world. Wherever and whenever the story takes place, making that world come to life is important. One of the tools used to make that happen is the characters. Readers experience the world through the eyes of characters whether humans, animals, or some unexpected lifeforms. The details learned are filtered through what the characters hear, see, smell, touch, and taste. But along with the five senses, we learn through the characters’ emotions.
Character’s emotional responses
In real life, emotional responses influence our cognitive processes, including perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem-solving. So as readers experience emotional responses of the character’s in your story, it creates a strong influence their on attention as it motivates the character to act in a particular way. Depending on the circumstances, emotion can either enhance or impair your character’s learning and long-term memory. All of this engages the reader to care, to speculate as to what will happen next.
Make the reader feel
Good writing makes the reader feel what your character is feeling. Imagine a character who faces a test. His/her emotional response as they anticipate the test reveals much. Do they fear? Are they anxious? Frustrated? Bored? Self-confident? Subject matter can elicit an emotional response peculiar to the character. It can even be anxiety regarding the sense of the unknown. Whatever the response, you want to make the reader feel it. This means you don’t just say they are frustrated. You show they are frustrated. They may lose their temper, drum their fingers, tap their foot, or sigh over and over. They might even get so frustrated they get up and leave. Inner dialog (thoughts) can show a lack of self-confidence. You might even show the character having trouble sleeping the night before the test, or turning to drugs or alcohol to help them calm down. Actions show the frustration and it engages the reader to feel the frustration.
Today’s Pumping Your Muse writing prompt – writing for emotional impact
Today’s writing prompt challenges you to show emotion based on one or more of the following photos. This is a free-write exercise. Seek to use strong verbs. Instead of saying, he was sighing loudly (week), something like, he heaved a deep sigh. I’ve chosen picture prompts of people and animals which will challenge on different levels. Have fun with this. Remember practice makes perfect!
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About Dragonborn by Donna Sundblad Dragonborn conjures
up a winning fantasy with dragons, humans, time travel, and magic. Follow the
journey of the young prisonguard, Ervig Greenfields, as he seeks out dragons to
remove a curse. The dragons offer him access to the Labyrinth of Times, which
will purge the dark magic. But there’s a catch. Erving must take the Dragon
Oath that requires allegiance--to fight alongside dragons for centuries, never
to return to his own time. He and a handful of others take the selfless oath
and become Dragonborn. The Dragonborn and their dragons become seeds of change,
in this epic tale, of sacrifice for the greater good. Ride along with them as
they slip through a tear in time to the past to change the future.
Dragonborn is available on Kindle, paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo (Christian fiction), Smashwords Apple and Google Books. When you read it, be sure to leave a review! Thanks for your support.
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