Planning the emotional response your novel invokes in its readers

Revision as of 20:39, 22 September 2012 by NewMexicoKid (talk | contribs)

This is for an October 6th workshop (2012)

Novels and the emotions they evoke

  • Just as dialogue differs from conversations, so are novels different from real life. Dialogue is stylized, crafted verbal exchanges of information among characters. Novels are stylized, crafted simulations of life that are written with the intent to tell stories and connect with the emotions of the reader. Are all novels filled with emotions? No; but those with low emotional resonance will tend to feel cold and distant.
  • Emotions pull the reader into the story.
  • Writers do not need to feel an emotion when writing a scene, but they do need to tap into the emotion. They need to know how to convey the emotion to the reader and get them to feel it.

Techniques to use

  • Write in scenes that show the reader through character action and response rather than in narration that tells what happened. Help the reader step into your characters' shoes and feel what the character feels.
  • Help the reader identify with your characters by making your characters sympathetic. The better the reader gets to know and understand your characters, the more likely they are to identify with them. The tragedies that happen to strangers will not mean as much as tragedies that happen to friends and family.
  • Alternately, make your characters unsympathetic (e.g., show them being cruel and uncaring).

Plotters and Pantsers

People have different preferences about how much preparation they need before they begin writing their novels.

Approaches towards plotting/planning

  • Mindmaps (XMind and Freeplane)
  • index cards and bulletin boards
  • snowflake method

Your Story Idea


Compelling Characters


Engaging Plots


Gripping Scenes