Get Published – Emotion, The Vital Element In The Novel

Emotions and feelings are difficult things to handle in real life. Portraying them in the novel can be even more of a problem for some writers.
Sometimes the problem is with the writer himself or herself. Displaying emotion in public, for example, is a great source of embarrassment. ‘Making a scene’ is frowned upon. Some people believe displaying any emotion makes them appear vulnerable and weak to others. This feeling carries over into the writing, and some writers, particularly new writers, find portraying emotion very challenging.
In the present decade, when we are subjected to the never-ending public spectacle of celebrities’ emotions, the average person must wonder at the thickness of skin or else suspect that these overt displays are false.
Some writers, even experienced ones, hold back a great deal in not only the display of emotion in their work, but even the use of strong language and violent action, because of what others may think of them, particularly the opinions of their parents and loved ones. What the writer needs to remember is that these emotions, language and actions belong to their characters, not to themselves.
When a character is created the writer must stay true to the character’s attitude and traits, and portray them faithfully. If the character is a violent criminal then he must act, think and speak as such a person would in real life. The writer would perhaps never dream of using strong language in his everyday life, but he is not his character. His character is a separate entity playing a role in a separate world.
Perhaps we think that emotion belongs to the genres favoured by female readers, romance and chit lit. But in crime fiction, often plot-driven, there has to be some degree of powerful emotion that causes one character to murder another. Crime fiction, science fiction and fantasy offer extensive backdrops to a whole repertoire of emotions which will enrich these genres.
Emotion and feelings are vital elements in the successful novel. Emotion drives the characters to action. It is the naked display of emotion that attracts the reader to the story and brings them back time after time to the work of those authors who can easily provide this. Readers can witness all this passion and action from the safety of their armchairs.
In real life, emotion is exhibited spontaneously, of course, but when writing a scene the writer may feel distracted at having to cope with spontaneity, as well as furthering the plot and action. It is better at this stage to write the scene straight, concentrating on the characters and action. With the action of the scene completed to the writer’s satisfaction, the emotion/feelings can then be written in, in retrospect. This may seem odd, but to convey emotion creatively on the page the writer needs to do this with a cool head, giving a great deal of thought to the most effective way of getting this emotion across to the reader and holding him captive in the process.
Emotion written in cold blood is very often the most successful.

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