Nothing pulls at the heart strings of a reader more than well-written, emotional angst. When you are next writing fiction, try to build in an emotional scene that makes you dig deep into your own experiences so that you can use your personal memories and emotions to fuel your writing.
Characterisation is all-important. If you don’t create engaging and convincing characters why would your readers care if you steered one towards a cliff edge or placed them bang, smack in the middle of a busy motorway? If you haven’t built in that integral connection between the reader, the story-line and the character’s development, you’ve wasted your time.
When I was writing my first novel, I purposely wanted it to be emotional. I was focussing on the deep emotion that I would feel if my best friend suddenly died and I was plunged into a dangerous situation, I am pretty certain I would have real tears. I am also pretty sure it would take me a long time to come to terms with her loss. This brings me to the point that as the writer, you have to be able to feel it if you want to portray it. Blubbering helplessly while typing is OK, even if it does make the mascara run or make you feel miserable for a short while.
I did smile when I read one review which said that she had no idea that a character could weep so much and it’s true, there’s a lot of heartbreak in the story, but isn’t that the point? When writing fiction, you need to encapsulate real life, the good and the bad. My story is about a murder, it’s not going to be sugar coated, it’s raw, emotional and poignant and believe me when I say I felt every word of it. I’ve also had feed back from readers to say they cried too. At that point I wanted to whoop with joy, I had created a deep connection and pulled the reader into the story. In essence they were hooked. Will everyone feel the same way? No, of course not. Those who prefer a different style of writing and less emotion are unlikely to have the same connection. But that’s all about personal taste in reading matter.
Growing up, I would say I’ve never been particularly an emotional person, but following the sudden death of my mother some years ago now, I have to admit, it was like turning on a tap with a faulty valve, the slightest thing would cause my resolve to wobble and I’d feel real tears welling up. Aside from feeling an emotional wimp, it’s been an absolute bonus in my writing and now when writing fiction, I really get the importance of putting my heart and soul into every word. I feel it, I live it and at times a story-line can threaten to overwhelm. Sometimes when writing, you can find yourself in a dark place. The story can take you into the depths of misery and it can impact your mood, even if you know that at some point, you will emerge and start writing that happy ending.
I’m not a sugar coated fan. I like to create a fictional world that mirrors the light and the shade of real life, I want to pull my readers into that place too and let them experience a multicoloured and multidimensional world that holds them tight and keeps them turning the pages. Knowing what you want to achieve when writing fiction can lead the way to a much more gripping fictional outcome and even better if you are prepared to share your experiences and shed a few tears along the way.
If you want to see examples of emotional writing or learn more, here’s a couple of books to start you off: