I Got A Feeling

Ever find yourself writing a scene where the emotions are running so high you worry your writing won't get it across? Anger, sorrow, joy, love... sometimes it can be really difficult to use words to really express what these feel like.

We can put ourselves in the situations and imagine how we would feel, then adapt it for our characters.  Other times, we can use our own memories.  But you have to be careful when revisiting bad memories.  It can be a catharsis, but it can also open issues you may not want to revisit.

But it's Friday. 

And these still make me laugh

Let's deal with happiness. So, happy feels good.  All right.  What else? You smile and laugh, sure.  What about your heart? It's going up, up, up, and your whole body could dance with the buzz of happiness.  Happiness means you can't keep still and you just roll through your day.  You are INVINCIBLE! 

It all goes back to showing and not telling.  Make readers feel it.

Sometimes your story needs to go into a lot of detail about feelings.  Other times, a short sharp sentence is just as effective.  I can't really tell you what's needed in your story, but I know the times in mine when my main character needs to wallow and when she needs to shut up and get a move on.

How do you write emotional extremes?


  1. And there lies the difference between writing words or being a great storyteller!!

    I like to try and get in the character's head and then 'feel' what they are feeling, before I write an emotional scene. I guess I'm a frustrated actress really!

  2. Haha! Poor mice. Anyway, I know what you mean though. Sometimes it's almost like there's this thing in between me and the right words to get across my character's feelings. That's when I have to step back and reevaluate where I'm trying to come from. If it's not working, it may be that I'm not going about the scene the right way. But that's just me. :)

  3. I'm with Amanda on this. I get inside a character's head, and just go with it. My current WIP is in First Person, so I Unleash The Snarky.

    I would Unleash the Happy, but it's kind of a miserable world, and the closest my MC gets to happy is thinking about home, which invariably leads to homesickness instead. You know, come to think of it, I've been a real cow to him. :)

  4. Every person acts differently when experiencing different emotions. You have to think about what sort of person your character is and how they would respond. Their unique actions can show a lot about them.

    Though I also like, as a reader, to be in the character's head and hear the thoughts that are running through them.

  5. Amanda: And I'm sure being a frustrated actress allows you to channel all the emotions into your work ;)

    Bailey: It's not easy, is it? Re-evaluating is a good idea. Hopefully you'll find your way.

    Jen: Aaaaw, your poor MC! Don't worry, I'm not very nice to mine either ;)

    Sarah: Yes, exactly! While I might react to happiness by running around like a madwoman, my MC would simply smile. As a reader, I like to pick up thoughts through actions, although that's probably because I read a lot of third person. A very well written first person can definitely dig deep and share thoughts.


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