Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A to Z: Emotion

Emotions, our state of mind, our feelings, how we react to what is going on. Emotion can have many different definitions, and be seen differently by different people. In addition emotions can also be viewed on a dual level; what we feel internally, and how we express that externally.

One way of showing emotions externally is through facial expressions. Some emotions are easier for others to notice on a person's face such as pain and anger. When I'm writing, I like to try and visualize my character as they are expressing an emotion. I try to see their eyebrows lower in anger, and their eyes narrow. And I try to consider what reaction that will cause in the other characters they are interacting with.

What about your characters? How do different situations effect your character's emotions? How do they express those emotions? Are they more likely to talk out their pain or frustration with other characters? Do they use other characters as scapegoats? Do they try and pretend they are fine?

Yes, I guess I focused on more "negative" emotions here. I could have mentioned more "positive" ones. Though with fiction the ones that cause conflict between characters are more interesting.


Anonymous said...

Once I get into the skin of my characters, each one expresses his/ her emotion in pretty different ways.

KarenG said...

emotion is such a good e word for a writer. I like books where I can identify with the emotions of the characters, yet not be beat over the head. I guess I hate overwriting emotions just like I hate overacting of them. I'm not a drama queen.

Bluestocking said...

I struggle to find the right balance between facial and other physical emotional responses and inner thoughts that can really make the reader understand what's going through the characters mind. It's tough for me, since I tend to leave it out in my first drafts.

Monica said...

I'm not a writer but I do feel, reading a persons face and stance to discover an emotion can be very revealing.
Found you from the A-Z Challenge, I’m now following you on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog!

RosieC said...

I'm all about facial expressions, but I try to give my characters "ticks", too. Things that show they're nervous, like hair twirling. It's something that's stuck with me from the days of reading Tolstoy in lit classes. He'll tell the reader once what the tick means, and then for the next 1000 pages it needs no explanation. I love it.

East for Green Eyes

Margaret Almon said...

There is also the challenge of describing someone who is trying not to feel an emotion, or struggling to extinguish it.

Dawn Embers said...

Great post. It depends for my characters. Most of the main characters are male so I have to show the emotions but try to make sure the don't come off as female. In my mutant adult novel, Noah's emotions affect his control and abilities. Anger makes him in control but scary powerful. Depression makes him weaker and he struggles to have control. Having the abilities affected by emotions makes working with mutant characters interesting and fun to write.