Writing emotion is one of the most difficult things for me to write. I joke with my friends that I 'don't do emotion', but it's not such a joke. When I write my first draft I'm focused on getting the plot running well, and making sure the action is fast and engaging. My characters' emotional reactions to things that are happening are glossed over. I'll occasionally remember to increase someone's heart-rate, but that's about it. They have a job to do and I want that job done quickly and efficiently.
It's only after the first draft is written that I read through it and think that it sounds a bit wooden. My critique group is very good at marking places and saying, "so how does he really feel".
So that's what I do on one of my editing runs. I read for emotional impact. If there's a high-energy scene that requires fast reaction time, my characters do that. Then I have to make sure they have time to debrief and work out exactly how they've been impacted emotionally by what's happened.
That's one of the conflicts I have when I write. People don't always have or take the time to debrief after they've gone through some trauma. Often, they just get on with life and some time down the track, when they've achieved some emotional distance, they begin to allow all the emotions they might have had but suppressed, rush over them.
Books aren't real life. Readers expect reactions for every action, and they expect them immediately, or close to. The only time a delayed reaction would be welcomed, would be when the trauma happened to the character before the book began.
That's the stage I'm at with Dragon God, the sequel to Warrior Pledge: layering in all the emotions that come with or after intense scenes. It is improving the story, but these few thousand words are harder work than the 100000 words that have come before them.
With Warrior Pledge, this kind of layering took me a few months to get right, but it worked. I'm hoping it won't take so long with Dragon God.
E E Montgomery
About writing, life, and random thoughts.
All Author Interview Books Characters Coming Soon Conflict Cover Reveal Editing Excerpt Family Fantasy Free Stories Goal Holiday Holidays Maps Memories Miscellaneous MM Romance Motivation NaNoWriMo New Contract New Release Plotting Poetry Publications Reading Reviews Setting Special Events Synopsis Writing The Gingerbread House Travel Website What I'm Reading Words To Know World Building Writers Life Writing Writing Courses Writing Habits Writing Retreats Year Of The Novel