Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Emotion In Writing

How do you express emotion in your writing? I read a story recently that had me in tears by the end of the book and I wondered if I could bring a reader to that kind of emotion. After exploring my own brand of writing, I decided to try something different. I've been able to show anger in a character and elicit a strong reaction, but in this next story I'm looking to show sadness and grief.

By exploring my own emotions, I discovered that I had to reach deep down inside where I've buried my own grief. I tend to become stoic when tragedy happens, perhaps because as a nurse I had to maintain an emotional distance. When my own mother died, I remember having to listen for her heartbeat and not hearing it. I wanted to cry, but there were things that had to be done. I sat there afterwards, in a state of shock, wishing I could have joined in with my family. Wishing I could cry. At her memorial service, I listened to all the wonderful things that people said, but I couldn't add to them. I loved my mother very much, mind you, but it seemed all my emotions were hidden behind a veil.

Today I can feel those emotions as strong as the day it happened. I consider myself lucky. Why? Because with those emotions not only can I use them in my writing, but I can remember the wonderful woman who was my mother.

What are your strong qualities in showing emotion in your writing? Can you write a story that will make your reader cry? What's your secret?


  1. I've had readers write to me and tell my parts of my stories made them cry. I recently read a book that made me sob out loud and I felt sad for an entire day. I wish I could do that.

    1. I know what you mean. It takes great skill and planning along with a special gift for words, I think.

  2. And it takes courage, I think. To bare it all, to be authentic. To risk.

    This post touched me, for several reasons. But my main point is that it took courage to lower your guard, to bare your heart, to be so raw and real. THIS POST made me cry. I suspect that as you do that in your stories, they too will make me cry.

  3. Retta: Thank you for the courage to share your feelings with me. Showing you are vulnerable is something not enough people do.