How do you convey an emotion? The answer to this question is a very complicated challenge for us writers, perhaps the most difficult one of all of them: that’s why we can’t take it lightly.
Of course, we could write: “And then, the main character in our story... died”.
Was that clear? No doubt.
But did we stir anguish in the reader? Fear? Awe? Concern? Well, no, not really.
And the truth is, it’s not easy to convey an emotion to the reader, in the same way that it’s not easy to talk about it in real life.
Many of us prefer to show our emotions through actions, or by buying a gift, for example a bouquet of flowers: but how do we make our reader feel the love that two characters are feeling for each other without falling into clichés? How do we make the reader sad when our character has lost someone they care about? How do we make them frightened when our character is investigating a murder? The simple answer is: through the “show, don't tell” principle, and we’ve talked about it at length in our course “Creative writing: the full course”.
We need to become excellent sociologists or psychologists, or scholars of social and romantic relationships; or, as an alternative, you can enroll this course.
How do you show and make people feel anxiety, depression, anger, desire, boredom and many other emotions that we will describe in this course?
How do you make the scene in which the character is feeling such an emotion a realistic one, and how do you make your reader feel it—almost like they’re living in that moment themselves?
We will compare sentences that “tell”, or describe an emotion, with those that “show” it and that trigger the same feelings in us who are reading.
We will make a detailed list of the bodily reactions that each emotion provokes in us.
Because that’s the only way you can learn how to really get your reader excited.
Are you ready to begin this journey? I can’t wait!