A popular post from April 2010
By Julie Wright
Some people tell me they don’t read fiction because they get nothing out of it, but if they aren’t getting anything out of it, they aren’t reading the right books. I read for the emotional experience and there is lots of emotion to be found in fiction—at least . . . there is lots of emotion to be found in good fiction.
The emotion readers get from a book (and this absolutely goes for non-fiction as well) is what stays with them, and is the most important byproduct of your writing. It is what will keep them looking for your books. If your readers don't feel much of anything, that lack of emotion will make them forget you. They definitely won’t be looking for your next book, and they definitely won’t be recommending your book to anyone else. Ultimately readers have to care.
My good friend and mentor Jeff Savage, teaches that you should always come to the scene late and leave the scene early. So basically he’s saying you should come to the scene when there is some action going on. Action doesn’t necessarily mean a fight scene or a battle, action means your characters are doing something. Your opening scene needs to introduce characters and make us care about them. you do not want your readers thinking, "And why do I care about this?"
It's a good idea for writers to pay attention to the emotion they want the readers to feel. what do you want the reader to feel in the beginning? What do you want them to feel for each specific scene? what do you want them to feel when they shut your book at the very end?
My best advice to authors looking to infuse emotion into their writing is to write from the heart. Write what you are passionate about. If you aren’t passionate about your story, you end up with a manuscript that lacks emotion, or is dissatisfying because of unfulfilled emotion, or the wrong emotion. Write from the heart.
If you are madly in love with your hero, your reader will be too. If you really hate your antagonist, your reader will too. If you have a hard time shutting out the lights to go to bed after a night of writing because you know those monsters in your pages are looking for a way out, your reader will too.
Because the question you must ask yourself, as a writer, is: Why do I care? And if you find you don’t, your reader doesn’t either.