Saturday, February 11, 2012

Emotions in Writing, Part 1: The Power of Emotions

My husband and I have a running joke about emotions. You see - women are emotionally complicated, so much so that we can feel two conflicting emotions at the same time. Men, on the other hand are simple. They have four emotions, happy, sad, hungry, and sports. Anyway, this got me thinking about how important emotion is - especially in writing.

Recently my mother in law suggested I read Chinese Cinderella. It was an amazing story based on the true story of the author. It was stuffed full of emotion. Yep, went through about a box of tissues reading. Needless to say I really enjoyed it.

On the other hand I have read some books - can't think of any right now which shows how memorable they are - that have little to no emotion in them. Not so enjoyable.

And on to the point - I thought I would do a series on emotions in writing and how we can use it (without using it). Or, my thoughts on the subject. First I would like to discuss the power of emotion.

The Power of Emotions

Emotions are how we connect with, experience, and react to the people and events around us. This is why I think emotional writing strikes a stronger cord with us. Especially if it is an emotion that we can identify. For example, in Chinese Cinderella she felt awkward and like she did not fit in. I think most of us can identify with that on some level. Which made the story have more of an impact.

One of the main reasons why I read is to experience a story along with the main characters. This is why my favorite types of stories to read are character driven. I like characters that I can identify with - or at least empathize with. I recently started a new WIP and have been thinking lately about using emotions in writing to make it more powerful. I want my characters to be real, the situations they go through to be memorable, and for their story to make an impact.

How do you use emotion in your writing.


  1. I use a lot of emotion in what I write - but that's also the topics that I write about; rape, suicide, kidnapping, depression, murder of children... those are very emotional stories. My most emotional story... it was a fanfiction (rolls eyes at self), but it was an emotional time for me. A friend had a brain tumor and I wrote about all of my emotions, making them that character. It was honestly one of my best. Because the emotions felt real.

    I love that guys have four emotions... very funny! :)

  2. I love reading and writing a lot of emotion. Not just sad or angry or love, but the whole range. I also like conflicting emotions and how the character has them dueling within her.

  3. It's interesting to read this after doing the emotional flash fiction challenge on Friday for the I'm Hearing Voices blog fest. It's fascinating to see how different people tackle expressing emotions in their writing.
    I've also tagged you in the game of blog tag. Hope you can play!