Jan 9, 2012

Writing with Emotion

Story: I told you last time that I have been in plotting mode.  It has been wonderful on so many levels because I finally have everyone straightened out and ready to finish the story. 

But a funny thing happened.  I had the idea for a scene, and so I followed all the advice I told you about last time and started writing it.  This is a pivotal scene, with realizations for several different characters, and it is an emotional scene for that reason.

Let me tell you this about me - while I'm an emotions person, my emotions tend to be Life's Good, That Sucks but I'll Keep Moving, Couldn't be Happier and Pissed Off.  I'm not really a crier unless something really, really bad happens.

Until I started that scene.  I bawled.  Like blinking hard to see the stupid screen so I didn't lose the scene crying.  There are a few reasons, but the biggest one is that I finally see my MC see what it's all been about.

This surprised me to no end.  And then I got thinking about it.  Especially when Robert Frost said,

"“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. 
No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” 

Most writers want their readers to have a truly emotional experience with the characters.  That may cause the writer to have to have that experience first. 

But do you actually have the experiences the writer intended?  Have you read a book, knowing the emotion that you are supposed to feel?  Why does or doesn't it work? 

So tell me, what is the book that made you really, truly connect, on an emotional level with the characters?  What do you do to help your reader have the emotional experience you want them to have? 

12 comments :

Miranda Hardy said...

I've only cried a couple of times with books, so I know the writer did a great job bringing about the emotion within the story.

I cried once trying to imagine how one of my stories were to end, but I know I can't write it at the moment. It's a future work, for sure.

Emily R. King said...

Robert Frost is a genius! This is something I'm working on in my writing. Riding the roller coaster with a character is an emotional experience, and one that is never forgotten. I still feel this way about The Scarlet Letter. It's one of my favorite books of all time.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

While I certainly didn't cry, a scene involving the death of a major character in my first book was really difficult to write. And many readers have told me that scene made them cry. Which makes me feel bad, but I guess that was the effect I was going for!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I cried at the end of 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven'. But it was an uplifting tear, rather than through grief. I can't think of a book that's made me cy with sadness. Although I'm reading on at the moment that looks like it's going to turn that way.

M.J. Fifield said...

I don't know that a book has made me cry before but there have been a lot that have come close. I love it when a writer can manipulate language well enough to bring me to (near) tears.

And yeah, I love it when I can do that to a reader. To my knowledge, it's happened once.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

I keep saying the Forest of Hands and Teeth is the first book to make me cry since Where the Red Fern Grows.

I had a scene I wrote that I cried while writing and keep tearing up everytime I read through it during edits. I figure that's probably a good thing ;)

Patricia T. said...

Tasha, that must have been an excellent scene if you were bawling! I think it is a very good thing.

Kristin Hannah's "Winter Garden," really hooked me. I was caught off guard, not expecting what was to come and found it so heartbreaking. Also, the real ending in Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper," was a real tear jerker -- was in shock and sobbed at the ending. The movie ending was changed.

Patricia T. said...

Tasha, that must have been an excellent scene if you were bawling! I think it is a very good thing.

Kristin Hannah's "Winter Garden," really hooked me. I was caught off guard, not expecting what was to come and found it so heartbreaking. Also, the real ending in Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper," was a real tear jerker -- was in shock and sobbed at the ending. The movie ending was changed.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've just thought of one: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I cried so much I know I never want to see the film - I'd be a wreck!

M Pax said...

Alex's book CassaStar made me bawl. That rarely happens. That takes skill and more practice for me.

Rachel Frost said...

About a year ago I experienced that, too, when I was finishing up my first novel. I always think that I'm just a big crybaby and no one else really cares, but with this version, one of my critiquers told me he bawled... yes, HE, and he's one of those people I've only seen cry once in the ten years I've known him. It's moments like that, that make me believe I can actually get this thing published. :)

I don't even need to read your scene to think that it must be awesome if you cried--though I would like to actually read it. Good luck with the revisions. ;)

S.P. Bowers said...

Robert Frost was right. The pieces I cried (or laughed or experienced the emotions of the characters) as I wrote it have always been better and the reader connected with them more.