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Emotions and Feelings
When we write, we externalize our vision of the world, the emotions and feelings we want to make immortal. Some will keep the pages of our novel like a treasure, hidden from prying eyes; others will try to establish an invisible bridge with people –the pact with the reader.
That’s how creative writing, all that literary production that comes from a personal need, becomes a source of emotions. The readers will feel anger, joy, and fear. In some cases, they will even hate some aspect of the story or a specific character. So, what are emotions and feelings?
Emotions and Feelings are two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, we have emotions that spring from the depths: uncontrollable, and often we do not even understand their origin as they are spontaneous and instinctive.
On the other hand, feelings are the most refined and conscious version of emotions. Feelings are rarely unconscious. You may not notice when they are still in their embryonic stage, but you always know how to recognize the origin and attribute the causes to your feelings.
Making such similar sensations in creative writing, yet placed on a different level, requires different stylistic techniques. The focal point is the readers. They need to empathize with your writings through experience and imagination; However, their emotions will be different from those that gave you the impulse to write.
In the following articles, we will see together how to write about emotions and feelings at their best, some helpful tips to “feel with your hand,” and effective use of both emotions and feelings in the narration of novels and movies.
If you can imagine it, then you can write it down!
Whatever scene you want to write, it is crucial to have in mind what you want to communicate –the scene’s entirety and the unfolding of the actions that will lead to the emotional climax. If you see it with the eye of the mind, you will be able to describe it with greater accuracy.
As no one can see the wind, but only its effects on the trees, so we cannot see the emotions, but only their effects on the face and body.— Terri Guillemets
— Writer —
Write what you know, but even more, write so that you understand. Using high-sounding or refined words can divert the reader’s attention from the scene and break the enchantment of identification, the so-called secondary belief. Do not distract the readers;
The best way to destroy the bridge between the visible and the invisible is to try explaining emotions. Emotions were wild horses, and Brida knew that at no time was reasonable to dominate them completely.— Paulo Coelho
— Writer —
Feelings and emotions develop by association. Play with words, insert metaphors, walk on the border between the obvious and the hidden: I see, I do not see; I say, I do not say. Let the reader complete the scene in his mind. Maybe this is the hardest tip: understand where to stop writing and where the reader’s imagination will begin to complete the description; write multiple versions of the same scene and, each time, go further; reveal an extra piece. You will find the right balance;
If words have no vibration and feeling, they are just words.— Charlotte Rampling
— Actress —
Like the previous point, you can proceed by visual association: assign a color to each emotion and feeling; if you do not know the meaning of colors, take a look at this article. Describing a setting that recalls the colors associated with a specific emotion helps the reader identify with the action. In fact, if you think about it, dark and decisive colors and hues are often present in stories and novels where the sense of oppression and helplessness prevails. The “Noir” genre takes its name from the colors that convey the sensations and emotions communicated in this genre.
A mediocre idea, but capable of generating enthusiasm, will go further than a great idea incapable of generating emotions.— Mary Kay Ash
— Entrepreneur —
Narrative speed is one of the most effective writing tricks to convey feelings and emotions. An action scene, full of adrenaline, will be characterized by a fast pace and chained actions, while a scene of love and tenderness will focus on the moment’s sensations, stretching the seconds as if they became minutes. However, this rule does not always apply. There are action scenes in which the narrative slows down almost to a standstill to frame the antagonist’s finger on the trigger, for example, and love scenes, quick and ephemeral, are barely described. It all depends on how much you want the reader’s mind to linger on the scene you’re describing and its narrative functionality.
A split second and an eternity become interchangeable when you experience intense emotions.— Jonathan Coe
— Writer —
- Awaken the inner child:
Managing emotions and feelings requires the study of a lifetime. Some people never learn; others manage to live with their humoral variations that alternate in their minds every day. Years and experience lead us all to take certain sensations for granted. The writer’s job is to return to the purest source. Try to think, “How would a child describe this emotion?” Then, those who have the opportunity can ask their children or grandchildren to describe a specific emotion and create a table with the answers and sensations seen through the eyes of a child. You will be amazed by their answers;
The emotions felt in the first years of life, and other sensations that have aroused joy or pain, leave indelible traces that will condition our actions and reactions throughout existence.— Rita Levi Montalcini
— Neurologist —
What about you? How do you describe emotions? Do you like quick and wild descriptions, which overwhelm the characters, or the calm and slow ones, which give the reader all the time to appreciate them? Do you identify with your characters, experience their feelings firsthand, as in the Stanislavsky method, or try to keep them separate from yourself?
Write it in the comments!