Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hitting Those Emotional Notes

As a writer, you want your reader to have an emotional investment in your story.  Without that emotionl investment, the greatest prose in the world means nothing.  SFF writer Dave Farland said something in his newsletter recently that really resonated with me.

I can show you how to fake it, I think. I could show you how to create false surprises, or try to move a reader to tears, but rarely can a writer learn to do this very effectively.

Instead, dig deep into your own heart. Find the right emotion. Let it suffuse you, and then try to figure out how to word your story in such a way that you convey that emotion perfectly.
Dave's right.  The reader usually knows when you're faking it, and they feel gypped.  And when the reader feels cheated, she's unlikely to pick up your next book.

This is what I love about beta readers.  If everyone's pissed and grieving when I kill a beloved secondary character, if they're turned on by a sex scene, hell, even if my male betas get man-crushes on my heroes, then I've done my job.

And the key is, I need to feel these things when I write these scenes, or they don't ring true.

For more of Dave's wisdom, go to his website and sign up for his newsletter.  It's well worth the read.

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