Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I had no clue what I was going to write about today. Not. A. Clue. None. At. All. Nada. Nothing. Finito. Then, I get to work and have an email with a link to a YouTube video - see below.

Now, I really don't need to say anything else except: emotion. No words, only music and action, and yet powerful EMOTION. Our writing needs such emotion and we have to do it with words . . . but maybe not a lot of words. Sometimes, a few words can convey emotional impact better than a long slew of words.

So, as you write, as you approach and prepare the scenes that will tug at my heartstrings, think carefully how you are doing the scene. Do you need a ton of stuff to tug at my heartstrings or, do you need something simple and pure, like the video above, to get the emotion across? It's something to consider.


Robyn Campbell said...

Emotion. Simple emotion. Don't need a lot of extra junk. EXACTLY!

I write emotionally charged scenes the away I like to read them. Just enough to lead the reader into the scene and then let them feel what they feel for themselves.

I had started out writing a lot of crying in my novel that I am almost ready to query. Ask Beth, she'll tell you. I learned from her and others that writing in that way is BORING. And has no place in my story. But we do need emotion. We just have to find the right balance.

How are ya? I hope your new WIP is coming along. =)

Davin Malasarn said...

I try to keep emotion at the forefront of everything I write, but sometimes I get distracted by more technical aspects of writing, especially when I think something isn't working. But, I do think it is critically important. I saw this video a few days ago, and it's very powerful!

Elana Johnson said...

I always skim over the emotion in the first few passes. I just don't know the characters well enough to know exactly how they feel or how they should react. My emotion comes on almost the last pass, after I've read through and revised my work so many times my eyeballs are bleeding. And even then, sometimes I don't nail it.

It's tough!

myliteraryquest said...

Wow. Okay for a seatbeat commercial that was totally awesome (I hate to admit I got a bit misty eyed). Thank you for the simple reminder that less is more.

Scott said...

Robyn - you're agreeing with me again! Ha!I don't think we need the tears, just the emotions that set off the tears . . . in our readers.

Davin - the video, simple as it is, has profound impact. It's simple and to the point, which is where I think emotional scenes need to be, at least in my writing.

Elana - personally, I don't try for the emotional impact in my writing, I just sort of let events dictate what is/isn't emotional. On my current WiP there have been times where, as I'm writing a scene I become emotional. Hopefully, the readers will have the same experience and it's not just I'm sleep deprived because my cat's on a diet and keeps waking me up every ten minutes.

myliteraryquest - misty eyes here too . . . and I've watched the video multiple times today. The video, beside the obvious message, brought home the less is more message as well. Then again, we writers do tend to see the world with different eyes.


Robyn Campbell said...

You are right. I might have self committed. Agreeing with Scott. I've completely LOST it.

And we do not need tears, but my point was that that was how I conveyed emotion all those long days ago.

Now I use interesting tricks up my sleeve to show it. In minimal amounts, of course.

Now off to the funny farm...hahahahahahahahahaaha

Jemi Fraser said...

Powerful stuff. Simple, clean, compelling. I can only hope to convey emotions that well. :)

Laura said...

Wow. I watched that video 3 times in a row before reading the rest of your blog. You are so right.

They say: "A picture speaks better than a thousand words."

I believe we can apply that to our writing as well. Write visually. Paint a vivid picture with your words and make it look real; show the reader what you see and make that reader see it too. Visuals create emotions, emotions create reactions.

When I write a story I always imagine that I have one of the (future) readers next to me and he/she is blind. I have to show him via words how my world looks like.

Speaking of strong emotions just as the ones in the video you posted...Here's a similar message. *goosebumps*

Laura said...

I guess my link didn't get through.
:( sorry about that.

Maybe now?