Friday, October 18, 2013

Writing Emotions into Your Book: How Being a Good Observer Brings Your Characters--Real or Imagined--Alive

Emotions reveal us, but we don't often reveal our emotions.  Players on your page are the same.  They show us who they are via movement, quirks, gestures, what they notice around them, their history, and many other aspects--rarely through straight-out delivery.

So a writer has to both observe and write the signals of emotion.  Characters who are well observed come alive for the reader.     

But we writers get lazy.  Just as we take real-life friends and family for granted--and stop seeing their uniqueness--we can fall into routine with our characters.  We copy characteristics in people we know, or we use stock images for emotions without trying hard.  Our observations grow limited and (to the reader) boring and predictable.

This creates what's know as the "flat" character.  The antidote is to let yourself really observe, so you can see around the stereotype and create fresh, original characters.