E M O T I O N
I started working on a story for an anthology the other day. The story was in my mind quite clearly and I had no trouble getting the words down. When I finished, I read what I'd written. Flat! Just plain flat!
Of course, it was a first draft and we know that it not going to be perfection but this was pretty awful. I saved it in a file and left the computer in disgust. What was wrong with it? I pondered on it the rest of the day. I realized that I had reported the story. I had told the story but it lacked emotion and also had few sensory details.
I told the readers how I felt but I didn't show them. I described scenes but they felt flat because I didn't write with emotion. I didn't try to let the readers feel what I had been feeling. Why?
1. My aim in the first draft was to get the story down as it happened.
2. I didn't write with passion. It didn't come from my heart. Instead, I wanted to report the story and that's all.
3. I saw and felt the sensory details in my mind but I included very few for the reader.
4. I didn't care about the story nearly as much as I should have. If I had, the passion would have been there--that and more.
5. I didn't use phrases that would be remembered. What I had written was ordinary.
6. If I didn't write with emotion, the reader was not going to see it either.
Writing with emotion can make the difference between a so-so kind of story and one that will be memorable and accepted by an editor. Think about your favorite books. Was it evident that the author wrote with emotion? Is that part of the reason you liked the book so much?
If you have writing projects in your files that have gone nowhere, look at them again. Ask yourself if you wrote with passion. Did you bring emotion and those improtant sensory details into play? If not, it might be time for a revision. You must care about what you're writing for the emotion to come through to the reader. If you don't give a hoot about it, then it might be time to dump it and move on to something you do care about a lot.