Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Art of Emotion

I've worked hard at learning to write with emotion. It hasn't always come easy to me, but I now consider it one of my strengths. An interesting claim when my last two protagonists were 1 - a teenage boy (not exactly known for being expressive with their emotions) and 2 - an emotionally-stunted teen girl.

Both of these characters have more of a show not tell method of expressing emotion. They don't like to talk about it and they'd rather those around them didn't either, but still, they let people know they care about them in one backward way or another. But it's definitely been a challenge.

One thing that's really helped me is I'm a big fan of nonverbal communication. I love people watching. If you go to the mall or a restaurant, you can see the state of people's relationships just by watching their bodies and facial expressions. The couple that walks as far apart as they can, the couple that is so close you can tell they'd occupy the same space if it was possible. The couple that holds hands out of habit, but never actually look at each other. There is so much you can tell by the way people move.

I try to use as much nonverbal communication of emotion as possible in my books (my choice of characters often make it necessary). It's been hard at times, but I truly believe it's made me a stronger writer. How about you? How do you communicate emotion in your writing?


8 comments:

  1. I've struggled with writing emotion in my writing as well. When I changed POV to first person, it really helped.

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  2. I think using non-verbal cues is great. Subtle but effective. I love people watching too.

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  3. I love the non-verbal cues too. I people watch all the time and it comes in great for the writing. But there's still more for me to learn. *sigh*

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  5. Oh, people are sooo interesting. They're fun to study. I think people communicate non-verberbally more often than not. I'm definitely going to pay closer attention to those subtle ways of communication in my writing.

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  6. I definitely think that "not speaking" what a character feels pulls through emotion so much more. You're not just good at it, Jenn. You're a master.

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  7. Excellent post! I love people watching too, but I've never really thought about the emotion behind it. That makes me sound like a stalker, but I swear I'm not. :)

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  8. I love writing emotions on a non-verbal platform. For me it's a bit easier, in order to communicate with others as a deaf woman, I garner a lot of what they say through expressive reactions, physical movements, etc.

    People watching comes natural as well, helps me relate to whatever environment I'm in. (Hugs)Indigo

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