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Posts tagged ‘emotional throughline’

Draw on personal pain to write believable characters

I started reading a new paranormal novel last month that I had high hopes for based on how quickly and easily the first few chapters hooked me. The plot was refreshing, unique, and action-filled from the beginning. Interesting, quirky characters reeled me in. But it quickly went downhill from there.

I’m the type of reader who usually doesn’t give up on a book. I always have faith that the author will pull out of the temporary bog and finish, if not strong, at least well. I have only given up on two books in my life. My new paranormal novel was the third.

What went wrong? Read more

Three posts to enhance your story’s emotional landscape

Below are three posts from me and Carly about enhancing the emotional landscape of your characters and stories.

In the post “Find your story’s emotional throughline” Carly writes about a babysitting experience she had where she learned about subtext–finding the real meaning beneath an event.

Enrich your characters’ and readers’ emotional experience with these cues,” is a post about helping readers connect with your character’s emotions.

Try these techniques to amplify emotion in your writing,” examines the use of anaphora to enhance your story’s emotional impact.

Find your story’s emotional throughline

Even though I didn’t fully realize it at the time, an incident as a teenaged babysitter taught me one of my first lessons about subtext and story.

I was babysitting a nine-year-old boy who was literally out of control, a human tornado. He wouldn’t listen. I had plenty of babysitting experience, but I’d never dealt with a child like this. At one point, he found a cigarette lighter and before I could grab it from him, he’d flicked it on and burned his hand.

Later that day, after I had gone home and was walking down the street with a friend, the boy’s mother drove by. She stopped and started screaming at me about her son’s injury. While it wasn’t good that he had hurt himself, her response was extreme for the superficial nature of the burn. I tried to explain how hard it was to manage him, but she just drove away. Read more