This week, I’m taking a staycation. It’s going to be a glorious week of doing nothing, I hope. Scratch that. It’s a week of doing almost nothing. Okay, okay. Scratch that. If anyone knows me, they know I can’t sit around and do nothing even for vacation.
My best hope is to avoid my office. If I can. No peaking in at my computer, wondering what awaits my inbox. No stalking my husband’s computer to get one quick glimpse of Facebook.
I need a big break. A vacation of sorts. My world has whirled around with endless writing, blogging, checking emails, Facebook, and Twitter. You know that 360 shingle you hang when you’re really serious about writing.
So here goes my best effort. I pledge (hand on heart) to sit down and relax to the best of my ability. As long as I possibly can this week. I will not tiptoe to my laptop and work on my latest manuscript. I will not worry over the fact that it was supposed to be completed weeks ago. I will adhere to my oath to relax.
|This is how I feel about relaxing!
Pray for me. It’s going to be a grueling week of sitting back and kicking up my feet.
There’s nothing like reading a book and laughing with the characters, crying when they have a tragedy, getting chills when suspense rocks them. It’s what makes us read late into the night when we should be sleeping. Gripping stories are why we can’t put a book down to start dinner when we should.
What sets those kind of books apart from the rest? What makes us forget our world for just a bit as we venture into another?
The answer is emotion. We need to feel like we can relate to the protagonist in the story on a personal level. Without it, we can’t connect. A storyline falls flat.
Here’s some tips to help inject more emotion into your writing:
- Show the character’s feelings.
- They put their hands on their hips.
- She slammed her fist on the table.
- He rubbed his neck and looked away.
- Dig deeper into why your character responds the way they do.
- Make sure your protagonist is flawed.
- Keep some of their past hidden until necessary. It’ll keep the reader guessing as to why they act, react, or overreact.
- Show that your character doesn’t have all the answers through their frustrations, wants, and needs.
- Keep their personality consistent. Avoid sudden shifts or you’ll lose the reader.
- Allow them to have some type of emotional victory even if the story doesn’t have a happy ending.
A great story has many elements, but one of the most important ones is using emotion to hurtle your story above the rest. Make us want to turn the pages. Give us something to connect with. Show us how your characters feel. If you use emotion to help tell your story, your writing won’t be just words, it’ll be a victory of connecting with your readers.
I’m a gum chewer. I can exhaust a piece of the best gum in no time flat. That also makes me a connoisseur of sorts. I could tell you which gum has the best flavor, which one lasts the longest, which one is most likely to trigger those happy childhood memories for most of us even if it only has five minutes of enjoyment in it.
A book can be like gum. There are many types:
- The ones that have the perfect flavor and texture all the way to the end.
- Sometimes we pick up one with a great cover and we can’t wait to taste the delights inside to find a surprise: we think it’s one genre and it turns out to be different.
- Sometimes we fall back on our old favorites for the sake of familiarity.
- Or what about the one that someone recommends to you and it has just the right taste for that day.
- There are ones like the best bubble makers. They build and build with excitement, and you can’t wait to see how they’ll turn out.
- And there are the ones that you know you’re going to love from beginning to end just because you’ve enjoyed their brand in the past.
There are so many flavors, colors, and consistencies in this giant world of writing. Take a little time to enjoy something out of your comfort zone, something new. You may find it was exactly what you needed today.