June 16, 2019 at 11:35 pm #91540
Hey, Y’all! I’m trying to write a really emotional scene in my book, and I’m just having a tough time with it. Any advice?June 17, 2019 at 10:19 am #91550Kayla Skywriter@kayla-skywriter
What kind of emotional scene is it? Is someone hurt or dying? Is it a romantic scene?
How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight forJune 17, 2019 at 11:14 am #91556Anne of Lothlorien@anne-of-lothlorien
Yeah… emotional can mean a lot of things, from sad death scenes to high energy tension charged stand-offs… can we get a little bit more of information?@shadowwriter161
I'm short, I like words, and I love people.
No, I didn't draw my profile pic.June 17, 2019 at 12:44 pm #91564
The scene in question is one of my main characters explaining her tragic backstory.
This is one of the first real emotional scenes I’ve written for the book, and I’m a bit unsure of myself 🙂
What, to you, makes a good emotional scene?June 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm #91585
Hi there! I’m going hop in and say emotional scene… one that makes the reader hurt. Like, when a character dies in a story and it devastates you, think about why did that hurt so much? My theory is that at least in my case it’s because I loved that character, they had become my friend or loved one, and when something hurts them it hurts me.
I’d say make sure the character is real and lovable (or whatever other emotion you want the reader to feel).
Also, I’ve heard people say to write what you need and not what you think other people need. I’d say apply that to your story.
In this sort of context, tragic backstory… make sure that that all the characters are consistent to their personality. You want for the reader to feel the pain of the character having to trust enough to reveal that hurt. Like, if the girl is always trying to be brave, then telling her story should be hard because she doesn’t want to show that she’s weak in that area. If it’s hurting another character to hear her story, then think through how they would act. This can be slightly hard for me sometimes because I naturally feel inclined to give all the characters the same emotional response I would.
So, tip in a nutshell, just evaluate your character and think about how they are likely to react to that emotion and stay consistent with it. Spend time trying to get into each character’s head and figuring out their mental process and how they will respond to the struggle they’re going through.
Also, don’t delve to deeply if it’s early on in the story. Save the most explicit descriptions of emotion for the climax/ending.
I hope some of that was decipherable!
Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!June 17, 2019 at 2:47 pm #91589
Thank you. Your advice is really helpful 🙂
One more question. You said I should try to get inside the heads of my characters? How exactly does one do that? XDJune 17, 2019 at 3:11 pm #91593
Well… That’s still something I’m learning. XD Some characters it comes so easy because I’m really in sync with how they work, but other characters…
I’ll just list several different things. 🙂
So, know their history, what made them what they are in your story. What things good or bad have shaped them? Who were they before those events happened? Do they try to be strong? What do they fear? Know what hurts them the most and how they avoid it. Know what they want, what they love, what they hate. I’ve actually had sticky scenes where I want to get it down and I just run up to my room, put on a costume and act the scene out. I know that has been helpful to me. If you’re into Myers-Briggs, I’ve found it helpful in getting direction on how character will act if you can figure out what brain-type they have. Observing people that are similar to your characters helps too…
Or even look at characters from other stories and try to get into their heads for a minute. Maybe start with character you relate with. Just sit and think about why did they do the things they did, how they did them, etc. Look at other characters that you don’t relate to and do the same thing.
Quizzing family by asking weird questions can be good to. I’m always asking weird questions to my family like, what would be the most embarrassing social blunder for you, how do you respond to seeing somebody cry, does this scare you, what would you do in this situation, etc.
Just train yourself to observe. 🙂
Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!June 17, 2019 at 3:21 pm #91594
Wow. That is incredibly helpful. Thank you 😀 Thank you so much.June 17, 2019 at 3:25 pm #91596
I’m so glad it’s helpful!! Start people watching!! It’s super fun!! XD
Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!June 17, 2019 at 3:31 pm #91597
I definitely will! Thank you, again.
Everyone here at Story Embers has been so nice and welcoming 🙂 It makes me feel like I’m part of a family.June 17, 2019 at 3:41 pm #91599
You are very welcome!! I enjoy ranting quite a bit. 😀
Oh is SE awesome?? I still feel that way, it is such an awesome place to go to for writing community. I hope you’ll stick around for a good long while!!
Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!June 17, 2019 at 4:05 pm #91604
I totally will! I’ve actually hung around the site for awhile, but I didn’t have an account so I couldn’t comment or anything. You could say I was like a shadow 😉
But now that I’m here, I’m definitely here to stay 🙂June 19, 2019 at 1:24 pm #91746Anne of Lothlorien@anne-of-lothlorien
@shadowwriter161 – Hey, Erica said pretty much all the amazing stuffs, so I’ve just got a little bit to put in here.
Emotional scenes are impactful because of the first word, not the second. The characters and settings are usually fictional, and most of us have never and never will go on ‘adventures’ or will ever have lives like these people. But the thing that connects us is the emotion. Normal human, fairy, monster, king, villain… we all share the same emotions, and that’s what links us to the story. The fact that we too have felt pain and loss and joy before.
You really want to make your character relatable, like Erica said. If she’s an emotional zombie, unconnected with her feelings, above emotion, etc., how are your readers going to connect with her? Make her totally and completely human. Give her little parts of her life and ways she acts and emotions that connect her with your readers because while they may not have tragic backstories, they can still feel sad for her because they’ve been hurt before and humans are designed to have empathy.
And here’s another thing to think about, in reference to making your character relatable and likeable. Villains… they’re the bad guys. You’re not supposed to be sad when they die. They’re evil. And probably no one felt at all sad when Sauron from Lord of the Rings died. He’s a black humanoide shape, who never shows any emotion other than a lust for power and blood.
But other villains… Loki from Marvel, or even Darth Vadar, make us sad when they die. Because we see them with emotions just like us. Loki isn’t some dark magic in a void, he looks and acts and talks and cries and breaks his heart and is selfish and bad then good just like we are. Darth Vadar is a ‘robot’ for most of the movie to the audience. Yet when he dies his face is revealed and he becomes a hurt and broken father. We get that as fellow humans, and it makes us sad for them.
All I’m trying to say, I suppose, is that if you want your readers to feel the emotions, use emotions they can connect with.
I'm short, I like words, and I love people.
No, I didn't draw my profile pic.June 22, 2019 at 6:22 pm #91911Michaela@mgtask
I would suggest listening to instrumental music that fits the mood of whatever you’re writing (e.g., sad, introspective, beauty-filled, etc.) I find that music really inspires my writing; I made a writing playlist on Spotify of instrumentals to listen to while I’m writing. You could even make a playlist that reminds you of the specific character/story/scene you are writing about.
Speaking of characters, I suggest using Story Embers’ Character Questionnaire. Try envisioning the character as you fill it out. It’s super helpful to flesh out your character (particularly the protagonist) – that way, you don’t just know what they feel, but what makes them feel a certain way. Here are some questions you could consider:
- How would you describe their personality?
- What motivates him/her?
- What do they want (e.g., revenge, love, power)? What price are they willing to pay to get it?
- What (or who) can they not bear to lose?
- What question(s) of life do they want the answer to?
- Do they easily show their emotions? How do they display happiness, anger, etc.? (this question is in Story Ember’s Character Questionnaire)?
It’s not just about portraying sadness or anger in a scene, it’s about writing how this specific character feels in this situation. Hope that helps – good luck with your story!
"May it be mercy I show for it is mercy I've been shown." - Written to SpeakJune 22, 2019 at 6:23 pm #91912
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