QUICK FIX: Once more with feeling
(Writers’ Forum August/September, 2008)
Are your characters driven by their emotions? Do they stamp, shout, sob and simper around the page or are they cool, calm and collected, struggling to show how they really feel?
Writing about emotional issues inevitably means the writer reliving the emotion themselves, which isn’t always comfortable. However, writing from the heart always touches the reader and allows them to relate to the story.
You don’t have to write about your own personal experience, simply put the feeling into a story with new characters.
• Think of a time when you were each of the following; angry; excited; lonely; elated; frustrated. Describe how you physically felt at that time. Now think about those emotions again, and this time write how you think the opposite would feel. Do this as many times as you wish with as many emotions you can think of.
• Using your emotional experiences in another story with completely different characters will take it one remove from your personal experience, yet use the essence of the feeling in your writing.
• Write a piece showing one character observing another’s emotional turmoil or happiness.
• Write a piece from the point of view of the character experiencing the emotion.
Don’t be afraid to use your feelings in your writing. No experience is ever wasted, even a bad one.