How To Add Emotion To A Story
Ever write a story, but find it’s still missing something? Like, you write a sad story, but still no one cries. You write a comedy, but still no one laughs. Or, you just write a story, but no one really can see what you’re trying to describe. If so, this article is for you!
1. Identify the emotions in your story.
What do you want your readers to feel at different points during the story? How should they feel when they finish reading? How do the characters in the story feel about what is happening?
2. Think about a time when you experienced the emotion your character is experiencing.
While you may have never been through exactly what your character deals with, chances are you’ve felt happy, sad, angry, surprised, scared, and a whole host of other emotions before. Think back to the time you felt the particular emotion you’re trying to get across. What do you remember thinking and doing?
3. Decide how the character would react.
Your own emotions are a good starting point, but in most cases, your characters aren’t the same as you. Think about the type of person your character is and what he or she would do when faced with the situation you’re writing about.
- If you’re having trouble imagining your character’s reaction, try writing down how you think you would react in the exact same situation, what you would think, say, and do. Then, go over each part of your reaction and ask yourself “Would my character do this?” Even if the answer is “no,” this exercise may give you a better idea of how your character would react by making it clear what he or she wouldn’t do and why. If you’re still stuck, go through the same process but use different characters – yours or someone else’s – in place of you.
4. Be specific.
If you just write “Sam was happy,” your readers aren’t going to be moved. It will help if they know why Sam was happy, but that’s still not enough detail to make readers feel Sam’s happiness too. If you were standing next to Sam, how would you know that he was happy? What does his face look like? What is he doing? Is he talking? If so, what is he saying and how does his voice sound? Specific details will make your readers feel like they are seeing how a particular person expresses happiness in this particular situation, not just being told that someone is happy.
5. Use the setting.
What you describe about the area where the action is taking place, the objects in that setting, and even the other characters can help to enhance the emotion of a scene. Remember that you and your readers are seeing everything through the eyes of your main character and the main character’s emotional state will influence what he or she notices and thinks about. You don’t have to have it rain during a sad scene or set a happy moment in a beautiful, comfortable room. A truly happy character may fail to notice the dull grey walls around her or even find them beautiful, while a miserable person could be unswayed by the most pleasant weather.
- Another writing exercise you can try is to describe or find a picture of an environment, that write scenes where your character enters the room while feeling happy, sad, frightened, angry, tired, or whatever emotion you would like to explore. See how you can use the same set of details in the environment to convey how your character feels in each scenario.