Each night at dinner while on the writing retreat, we’re reading portions of the stories we’re working on to one another. It’s been both entertaining and educational.
There are seven of us here, and we all have different styles, but there’s one thing we have in common. Each of us writes with emotion. Some manuscripts have us laughing. Others make us cry. All evoke the common experience of humanity.
And that’s the key. Touch people on a level they understand and they will see themselves in your writing. Here are the techniques I noticed:
- Amuse with a creative situation. One of us is writing a love story involving an octopus. It’s funny and quite good.
- Write using the five senses. This puts readers into your story world. When they feel they are “there,” it’s easier for them to enter into the emotions of your story. This is my own strength and contribution to the group.
- Push past your fears to write from the heart. One of our writers is learning to tap emotion using dialogue, something that frightens her a little.
- Pit your main characters against one another by giving one of them an attitude. Another manuscript is about a jaded woman with a chip on her shoulder who is undone by kindness.
- Use your characters’ flaws to produce reader sympathy. One story is about a young woman who breaks rules and gets in trouble.
- Evoke strong memories from childhood. One of our writers returned us all to our childhood Christmases.
- Write about an unresolved issue in your own life. We were in tears over a vivid scene of forgiveness between a father and daughter.
I hope these techniques inspire your own writing.
Do you have more tips on writing with emotion? What stories have you read that evoked your own emotions?
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©2014 by Janalyn Voigt