Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bringing Emotion To Your Readers

♥ artist: Lisi Martin:
Love and Joy

Two powerful emotions are pictured here. We know there are others, as well. Consider fear, anger, sadness among them. To write successfully, we need to learn how to make our readers feel emotions. 

I recently read a book titled Downfall written by J. A. Janice. The book is one of a series about an Arizona female sheriff named Joanna Brady. It's the only one of the series that I have read but the author gives enough info about previous happenings in the sheriff's life that it was easy to keep up. Of course, the sheriff has a difficult murder case to solve, all while dealing with planning a funeral, as well. The book held my attention and kept me reading longer than I needed to at any one sitting. And guess what else it did? It made me cry. A murder mystery that makes one cry has to have some very good writing. I'm guessing this author writes with emotion and passes it on to her readers, a very fine ability.

Whether writing a memoir, a fiction story, or even a poem, the writer has to allow the emotion within to be released. Does that sound simple? It's not! As writers, we need to learn to release the emotion within us as we write as that doesn't always come naturally. All too often, we're afraid to do that. 

Why? I'm no psychologist but perhaps if we allow our emotions to burst forth, even in our writing, we have to face them. Maybe we liked having them secreted in our hearts. It might be easier to release any joys and love we feel but what about the anger, the sorrow, the grief? Those are the ones that are more difficult to deal with. 

If the writer doesn't write with emotion and just proceeds to tell the reader that the character is angry or sad, he/she is not going to reach out and grab the reader. They might respond internally with a Oh, too bad, he's a sad guy right now. Or Hmm, she seems to be angry. And then they move on to the next section.  If the writer shows the character feeling whatever the emotion is, he/she has a far better chance of having the reader understand and feel it, as well. 

My dad often mentioned that his mother loved to go to movies but she felt she never got her money's worth unless she had a good cry. Considering that she was seeing films in the silent movie days, that's saying something. The writers who got the emotion across were ones that gave her what she wanted--a good cry because of emotions that transferred from that screen to my Grandma Laura sitting in a darkened theater. 

To sum up, showing rather than telling helps bring emotion out in our reader. Also, being able to release our own, possibly pent-up, emotion helps the reader to feel, too. 


  1. Sadly, my emotions sometimes distract me while I write. Great post.

    1. Now, that's bringing another aspect to the topic.