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Posts tagged with: writing emotion

I Hate You

Okay. I bet the second you read my blog title an ex-significant other popped into your mind and you’re recalling what it was about him or her that caused conflict between the two of you and ended the bond.  Think back to the turning point in your relationship.

Was it something he did or didn’t do?

While eating out, did he/she always pick at the dinner you ordered because he decided yours looked or tasted better than the dinner he ordered?

Did he/she always leave the television on when leaving the house or apartment?

Did he/she never wash or clean out his car? And was happy to have a backseat filled with garbage?

Did they constantly make promises and always had an excuse for not keeping them?

Or was it something he/she said?

Like beginning every sentence with “Hummm”

Or “I told you to…”

Did he/she never let you finish your sentence?

Or did it seem the relationship was all about them?

You always went out with his/her friends but not with yours?

You attended all of his ball games but he/she always found an excuse to miss your book signings.

She/He always wants sex with the lights off and never in the afternoon.

Or were there outside influences that strained the relationship?

He/she hated your dog, or cat.

Her/his family always had to be consulted concerning decisions that should be made by the two of you. Or the family interfered on their own.

His/her job took priority over everything.

Maybe there was a habit at first you thought was kind of cute but then it became really annoying.

He called every one of his buddies MAN.

While in the shower, he sang his version of We Are The Champions, inserting I am instead of we are.

He always swiped a cookie or veggie from the tray you just finished making for a party.

He always wore the same ratty shirt on the weekends.

I’m sure many of you could add more really great examples.

My point in listing all these examples is that they are character flaws and by giving your characters a flaw, your reader will connect with them and identify with your hero or heroine’s reaction. And that is what you want as a writer—a connection with the reader.

Perfect characters are boring characters.

Think about your favorite sitcom. One of mine is Everybody Loves Raymond.  Every character in that show is memorable. All have huge flaws.

Raymond, of course, is lazy when it comes to helping with the children and around the house. He loves golf and sex and would do about anything to have more time doing both, including telling his white lies.

Deborah, his wife, her flaw in my book, is she puts up with Raymond. But she can also be admired for sticking it out with the guy.

Robert, Raymond’s older, much taller brother, is insecurity about being second in line to his baby brother. And he has this freakish way of touching his chin when eating.

And Marie and Frank, Ray’s parents… well there isn’t enough room on this blog to list all of their faults.

The only characters who seem perfect are Ray’s and Deborah’s three children.  GRIN. Kids are always perfect!

In my 2009 Golden Heart entry, Evil’s Witness now titled His Witness To Evil, my hero, John, a FBI agent, is very curt. He is a loner with deep wounds. John wears a tiny rubber band around his ring finger and constantly snaps it. This works the heroine, Stephanie’s nerves. She is the target of a Mafia lord and under a lot of stress, so this little repeated action becomes the catalyst for her to express anger over her situation. It also does something else. When Steph blows her top and she presses John about it, she learns of his internal conflict. It reminds him of his daughter who was murdered out of revenge against him.

 

Now let’s go back to the lists above. I’m going to pick a few and show an example what conflict and emotion can be developed from the trait, flaw or habit.

A) Leaves the television on. Perfect internal conflict. Character was abandoned. Afraid to come home to an empty house.

B) Hmmm.. Heroine yells, “Hmmm. That is all you ever say to me. You never share what you’re thinking.”

Hero thinks, I really don’t want to do Thanksgiving at the grandfather’s house again, especially this year when it’s going to be the old man’s last.  I’ve lost enough this year.

C) Sex in the afternoon:

“I’ll get these reports to Mr. Gillings right away.” Marcy tapped the papers into a uniform pile, surprised Bill had agreed to all of her terms.

“You have time.” He stood and second later she heard the door lock clink.

“What are you doing?” Her nervous chuckle echoed off the walls of her office as he walked toward her. It was Saturday and there was no one in the building. “I told you, I’m not going to have sex with you.”

“If you want my support, you will.’”

Marcy’s heel landed home, in his nut patch.

How’s that for conflict?

I know you’re all avid readers. Do you have an example of a character with a flaw you’ve read you’d like to share?

 

                                                                                                                                                                       AMAZON

                                                                                                                                                                            B&N

                                                                                                                                                                       I-BOOKS

                                                                                                                                                                          KOBO

 

Autumn Jordon is an award-winning, sneaker wearing Ruby. You can join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com or follow her on Facebook and Tweeter.

Writing Emotion:

This is a reprise of a post from December 2010, but hopefully it’s as relevant now as it was then:

*********************

You hear it everywhere: readers want books that evoke deep emotion.

It’s not surprising, given the tough times we’re in, that readers want to be swept up in strong feeling—feeling so authentic and substantial they forget their day-to-day worries and just care about the characters, maybe even have a good cathartic cry. (When was the last time a romance actually made you cry? Back in the Old School 80’s, that used to be my litmus test for a “good book.”)

Evoking emotional response in readers is a tough job, and a very complicated one.  Many elements play into it, more than I can possibly cover here. But no matter how great your plot, no matter how high-stakes your Conflict and how dark your Black Moment, readers won’t get emotionally involved unless they can feel what your characters are feeling.

Processing Emotions: Journaling Works For Me

Happy. Sad. Fear. Anger. Love.

Emotions.

I am not one of those writers who can keep writing fiction when my life is falling apart and a whole slew of emotions are bombarding me. Call me unprofessional, undedicated, even a weenie-I’ve called myself all of those names and more.  In the past I used to stop writing and concentrate on getting my life back together-one time it took me almost a decade.

After all, I come from a family of extremes-the one extreme dealt with emotions by screaming. The other side stuffed the emotions to appear calm and in control in the midst of another’s hissy fit. Personally, I thought the calm and in control person looked well…more sane, so that’s the pattern I chose. But by stuffing emotions I never learned to process them. And though I’m no psychotherapist, I figure that’s why I tend to shut down during crises.

After that whole decade-long fiasco of piecing my life back together, I learned a different way to cope.  (Yeah, I can be slow sometimes.) Journaling. It sort of evolved out of The Artists Way and morning pages.

Let me state right now even though I’ve used them in the past and they work, I hate morning pages. I might’ve mentioned this a time or two…or ten. But this journaling is something I do strictly to process my emotions. And I don’t do it daily (like you’re supposed to do with morning pages). I only journal during highly emotional times, sometimes happy times but more often during a stressful situation or a crisis. Those times that have me reaching for those things which start with “ch”. Chocolate. Chips.  Yeah, chocolate chips work, too.

After recording what happened to piss me off  upset me, I then take time to write down how I’m feeling. My emotions, my body’s reactions (like this eye twitch I get when I’m trying hard to be in control) and how I feel about it-yeah, simple enough, right? Not so much when you’ve never allowed yourself to process emotions.

I have found an advantage to using this method which translates to my writing. By making myself experience the emotions and recording what I’m feeling, I’ve been able to use what I’ve learned to help my characters process their emotions, too. It was after I started doing this that my writing seemed to really take off. (By this I mean I started finaling and placing in contests, including the Golden Heart® after 10 years of entering.)

Aha! Not only did I learn how to process emotions in real life, but I also utilized what I learned in my fiction writing. Definitely win-win.

How about you? Are you one who can create through anything? Or do you have to process your emotions first before you turn yourself loose on your fiction? Do you find real life emotional experiences (good and bad) help you with writing your novel?

 

Just an fyi-I’ll be gone most of the day today-one of those stressful times, I have a son going for his first visit for dyslexia testing. It was scheduled for a week ago but the diagnostician came down with the flu. I didn’t realize the conflict when I rescheduled, and it’s out of town plus it will take up to four hours-so unfortunately I’ll be gone most of the day. I will, however, check in when I get back, and I look forward reading and responding to what you have to say. Thank you!

And one last thing, the normal spiel about me: My indie-pub suspense thriller The Good Daughter is up for the 2012 RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Squee!! To learn more about my books, follow me on social media, subscribe to my newsletter or read past articles I’ve posted, please visit www.dianalayne.com

Writing Emotion: Listen to Your Body

You hear it everywhere: right now, romance editors want books that evoke deep emotion.

It’s not surprising, given the tough times we’re in, that readers want to be swept up in strong feeling—feeling so authentic and substantial they forget their day-to-day worries and just care about the characters, maybe even have a good cathartic cry. (When was the last time a romance actually made you cry? Back in the Old School 80’s, that used to be my litmus test for a “good book.”)

Evoking emotional response in readers is a tough job, and a very complicated one.  Many elements play into it, more than I can possibly cover here. But no matter how great your plot, no matter how high-stakes your Conflict and how Black your Black Moment, readers won’t get emotionally involved unless they can feel what your characters are feeling.

Feelings, Wo-o-o Feelings

I hear so many writers talk of their desire to move the reader to tears with emotional words, conjuring up long forgotten memories of pain or longing, unrequited love and forbidden desire. The tools we use are descriptive images of sunsets, aromas of home baked breads, and the sounds of foghorns in the distance, among other things. If you prefer, we can use fluffy white marshmallow clouds, lilacs in bloom, and wind rustling through trees. It’s up to you. I’m flexible.

Cry, Baby!

A major perk of teaching third grade is story time.  The kids stake out their spots on the carpet and get comfy.  I perch on my stool, turn to page one, and begin reading.  Before long, the story works its magic on all of us.

Writing From Memories

Emma didn’t know what woke her— the excitement of the celebration to come in a few hours or the moonlight streams shimmering through the window, but something had.  Her heart, like an Olympic sprinter’s, drummed against her narrow chest as she brushed her bangs from her eyes.

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