Friday, June 29, 2012

Emotion in Books

I write thrillers. Which, contrary to popular belief, is not ONLY about scaring people. In order to induce fear in my readers, I have to make them deeply care about the characters first.

This is a problem I have with some of the horror movies released in recent years. They are more about the blood and making the audience jump than anything else. The worst of them do no more character building than putting the girl about to die in mind-bendingly short shorts.

NOT characterization, people. Really NOT.

So, back on topic. Yes, I scare people. And I really, REALLY enjoy doing that. I totally embrace the frantic panicked emails I get from my beta readers and...hopefully soon my readers. It's so fun and I've pretty much perfected my evil laugh.

See watch: MUAHAHAHAHAHAHahahaha...

Good, no?

But here's the thing, my most recent WIP, while being my scariest book to also my most emotional. I was doing a read-through and it made me cry.

Dude. This doesn't happen to me. I'm used to making myself afraid of the dark. Not making me all weepy. I'm not a cryer. I was SHOCKED. But, I figure this is probably a good sign. So, I decided to ask. What's the most recent book you've read that made you cry. Did you love it? And have a GREAT weekend!


  1. "NOT characterization, people. Really NOT." Hahaha! That made me laugh so hard, hehe. :)

    I think that's what I love so much about INSOMNIA is because it feels so personal. The last book that made me cry was Bel Canto. It was somewhere in the middle, and it was because the characters were so poignant and resonated with parts of me.

  2. The most recent book to make me cry was SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, which I also posted a love letter-review to on my blog. I think thrillers are hard to write, as are mysteries, because there is a certain expectation to them but I have a feeling you pulled it off with Parker's story. :-)

  3. So. Much. Emotion.

    Sigh. Oh, Cam.

  4. The last book that made me cry was probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Man I bawled reading that book.

    At least, for published books. But a couple years ago, maybe three, so definitely post-Potter, I re-read the start of an abandoned manuscript and started to cry in one scene. Something I wrote made me cry. That was a pretty exciting moment. But does that count?

  5. I've cried when drafting each of my books, but it takes a lot for my to cry reading someone else's book. The last one that had me teary-eyed and ALMOST crying was The Sky Is Everywhere.

  6. There were a few tears while reading WONDER by R.J. Palacio, but they were both happy and sad tears. Loved that book. And love emotional books, in general. :)

  7. The last books to make me cry were Sway and Camo Girl, both of which I loved. I also teared up while watching Brave--the mother/daughter struggle is so true and beautifully portrayed!

  8. It takes A LOT for me to cry while reading a book. Honestly, the last time I did (and probably the only time) was in junior high school when I read a particular Sweet Valley High book. (I know! Don't hate me!) But one of the main characters in this book committed suicide, and it was quite sad.

    Here's hoping YOU can make me cry, Jenn...with a book...and not hitting me in the face with said book...that would be cheating. ;-)

  9. I completely agree with you, Jenn! A thriller (or horror story for that matter) definitely only works if you care about the characters too. For example, The Passage - one of the scariest books I've read in a long time, but also one of my favourites because the characters are so real and so wonderful. If I'm reading a book or watching a film where bad things happen to characters I couldn't give a stuff about, all I think is 'good, you deserved it'. And then I shut the book/switch off.

    The last book that made me cry was THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. The man is a (writing) god!

  10. "The Fault in our Stars" made me cry a lot. I'm a sensitive little puss so I just KNEW I shouldn't be reading a book about cancer... but I did it anyway. I think I'm a masochist.