Conveying Emotion in Scenes

Writing emotion in a scene is crucial. It’s the only way a reader can truly connect Angerwith a character. In most cases, it’s the best way to determine whether a novel is great and will succeed. For writers, sometimes it’s extremely difficult to capture the right emotion, and level, in a critical scene.

Like a particular chapter I’m writing in my latest WIP. To be honest, I’m stuck. I can’t capture the right emotion in words and stick it on the page. And perhaps it’s because my inner conscience is telling me the scene isn’t going the right way and I need to steer it in a different direction entirely.

But I remember a scene in another manuscript I wrote where I pulled anger from one very vivid memory stuck in my mind. Which is what I think most great writers do. They use some of their experiences to portray emotion.

And anytime I need to write a scene full of pure anger, I go back to that one memory. It’s a very personal memory that took several years to get over, but I remember it so vividly that it’s easy for me to pull from. The time I was the most enraged I’d ever been (even to this day) and relive it in my mind. Needless to say, I can’t be near anyone when I do this, because it puts me in a very bad mood. But I pull from the emotions and write what comes to me through the character.never_wrong_a_writer_tshirt

Obviously, the scene may require tweaking afterwards, but it’s the main way I can make sure the emotion is there.

Writers: what do you do to invoke the right level of emotion in a scene? Do you remember the moment in your life that you were the most enraged or the most hurt? Does it help to pull from those memories, or just piss you off more?


2 thoughts on “Conveying Emotion in Scenes

  1. Susie .. what a great topic! I def. draw from experiences too and I also try and focus on the physicality of the scene, like the small body responses or sights and sounds around the character that mirror the mood. Using sentence lenth to speed up and slow down is another trick that helps, but writing emotion is so hard to do and not come across as cheesy or overly emotional.

  2. You ARE really great at conveying emotion. For me, I have to jot down a few notes about how I’m feeling while I’m living it (for example, when Katie died last summer and I was a mess for weeks after, I journaled about how much of a mess I was). And yes, the feelings do linger afterwards, but as writers we are in the emotional conveyance business, so it’s an occupational hazard.

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