Blog hopping. Getting all emotional.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

There’s a lot to be said for being a tortured artist.

Joking apart, if you’ve experienced life’s ups and downs, you must be better equipped to write realistic characters. Because not everything goes right, every time. Despite how other’s lives may appear to you. And, as every experience gives you the tools to deal with it, so the more you’ve packed into your life, the better equipped you are to portray emotion in your characters. Interaction also helps, whether it’s bringing up teenagers, dealing with older relatives or just the people that you meet, all these situations give you clues about how different people handle different emotions.

There is an important point that needs to be considered to qualify this, and that’s context, the setting for your emotional response.

Attitudes change and the emotions that they produce alter with time, so how we react today is different from how we would have acted yesterday, given the same situation. Things that used to shock us as a society are now commonplace and accepted, our writing must conform to the time period we have chosen as our setting.

Personally, as I write Science Fiction, I’m very conscious that things will change when mankind moves out into the Galaxy. One thing that won’t is man him(her)self. We will still have all our vices, hang-ups and funny ways of looking at things. Although they may be tempered by the new environment that we find ourselves in, things like love, hate, revenge and all the others will still be there. Which is good news for us authors. All you have to do is modify them to the setting.

But, even if you are setting your story in the fifty-third millennium, or an alternative universe, as long as it contains humans, it has to be relatable, logical. Emotion may be tempered by setting, but it still has to be…emotional.

Lastly, if what you write doesn’t stir emotion in you when you read it back, then you have to wonder if it will get any reaction from a reader.

Personally, I get emotional when I have to kill a character. Whether it’s a good guy or a bad one, it leaves me feeling terrible for days, even if they were created with the sole purpose of doing something and then dying. And the end of the book, the final explanation and realisation that it’s over, also leave me feeling hollow and bereft. Which might explain why I write so many sequels; or use characters again in spin-off adventures.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments, then check out the rest of the great blogs on this hop.

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8 Responses

  1. P.J. MacLayne

    Sometimes I feel bad killing off the villain and sometimes I get a feeling of satisfaction from it. 🙂 I guess it depends upon the role they played in the story.

    • Richard Dee

      No matter what, I often feel like they deserve another story

  2. Stevie Turner

    Yes, I do like to include my own experiences in my novels, and I do try new experiences from time to time to give myself something else to write about! Talking to others about what they’ve undergone gives good grist t’ mill too.

    • Richard Dee

      I can be prompted to a memory of something that happened long ago, maybe in a foreign country and it will set me off.

  3. Amy Miller

    “And, as every experience gives you the tools to deal with it, so the more you’ve packed into your life, the better equipped you are to portray emotion in your characters.”

    I love this. I visualized a writer with an overflowing, weather worn backpack with all kinds of home made attachments hanging off.

    • Richard Dee

      Thanks, now you mention it, I can feel it on my shoulder.

  4. phil huston

    I have written countless unpublished sequels, because I like to hang with the characters. Only to find some of the adventures and new characters too much of a reach and better suited to another show. Writing with characters we’re comfortable with makes it easier to get stories out that can then be transplanted to new work. But thank God for the old ones for coaxing the new ones out.

    • Richard Dee

      Characters quickly become friends and share more of their past adventures. If they’re interesting, they go on the list.

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