Something to Hang Your Hat On... Part 2

Yesterday, I talked about a lot of things, but mostly I talked about incorporating sense of community and familiarity in your writing in order to draw the reader closer. Today, I'm thinking along the lines of emotions, experiences and revelations. What has this got to do with it? Lots. Emotions draw the reader into caring for the characters, gives them a tie to this on-paper-person that you've done your best to turn flesh-and-blood. So many times, I get caught up in the getting the movements and plot points onto the page, but really this only ever results in a flat story. It needs emotional ties in order to make the readers care what happens. These emotions, experiences and revelations (or epiphany, another good word) are the things in our life that affect us the most. They change the direction of our lives, whether we want them to or not. They are the roadblocks that force us to make a decision, good or bad, easy or hard, right or wrong.
Most would say... "but emotion is just emotion." But emotions really demand a reaction.
  • Example: Heroine searches for the mother that gave her up for adoption, only to find that her mother passed away before she could find her. What is her reaction? Panic? Anger? Loss?
If you've given the reader an emotional base for the character then you need to follow suit when it comes to handling difficult, life changing decisions. These are the experiences. How they handle the emotion is a part of the story and gives the character an experience to learn and lead on from.

which leads us to revelations...

Revelations are the lessons learned from the emotions and the experiences. They are the warm and fuzzy, or deep and thoughtful moments that move the inner conflict of the story forward and give some measure of satisfaction to the reader.

Okay, so emotions are the catalyst, experiences are the gauge for the reaction and revelations are the outcome of the experience. It's what happens when you find your way through the maze of emotion.

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