A fictional writer Donald Maass once said, “Only when a situation has heavy emotional baggage will readers pick up that baggage and carry it.”
Writing is all about giving in and taking out a lot. While writing, we sometimes worry less about the readers’ emotions and more about the writer’s feelings.
But, as writers, we all know that a story is not about what happens but is more about the events that affect a protagonist. So, to evoke emotions through the process of screenwriting is a tough job but not an impossible one.
7 tips to evoke emotions in writing
1. Be Specific with Word Choice.
It’s easy to slip into cliche when expressing emotions in your debut novel. Even best-selling authors are susceptible to this temptation. How many times have you heard “a single tear dropped down her cheek” or “his heart skipped a beat”? These expressions of passion are so ubiquitous that they are nearly meaningless. Be as clear as possible in your wording and body language while portraying the character’s feelings. Eliminate words or descriptions that feel overdone in your initial draught, either by yourself or with the assistance of a writing coach.
2. Make Sure Readers Identify with the Protagonist
Not everything that we feel can be a part of the written story, but writings bring out some hidden emotions that have been caged to pause the flight of success. Every living and non-living thing has its story of confinement and needs a messenger to relive its stories in a much better way.
Digging a little deeper into the character’s past incidents, including a memory, will keep the reader even more intrigued, creating a bond between the writer and the reader. Your protagonist or primary character must thus be sympathetic and relatable. Readers will be able to relate to their own emotional experiences more readily the more committed they are to the protagonist’s character development, history, and narrative aspects.
3. Switch Up Your Descriptions
It is not enough to just transmit the character’s feelings when it comes to emotional writing. Readers must be able to see the emotional impact of the character’s body language, facial gestures, and actions. To put it another way, show, don’t tell. Rather than merely informing us that a character is afraid, show us how their body tenses up in terror. Describe a character’s trembling lips and tearful eyes rather than mentioning that they are sad. By showing rather than explaining, authors can better elicit readers’ emotions by making them feel as if they are experiencing what the character is experiencing.
4. Develop Intense Emotions for More Effect
As a screenwriter, while writing a scene, you can focus on the type of emotion that needs to be induced in the character, which would create emotions in writing, making that piece one of its kind.
But is this enough to put emotions in a writing piece? I think there is still more to it.
While writing emotions, the one thing that needs to be kept in mind is to provide an element of surprise to make the writing even more enjoyable. When taken care of, these little things will evoke emotions in your writing and create an attachment between you and the reader. These solutions may sound very predictable and logical, but a reader feels connected to the writer.
5. Try Journaling
The most powerful and sympathetic character emotions frequently reflect actual events. Because of this, maintaining a journal may be a really useful tool. Your everyday emotional experiences, whether they be ones of rage, despair, or joy, can be recorded in a journal. Be as clear as you can while expressing your personal feelings and make an effort to record the precise conditions that caused them. Review your journal when you need to express a character’s emotions in your creative writing. When creating fiction, try to incorporate some of your own emotional experiences. The higher the emotional effect, the more explicit your character’s ideas and point of view should be.
6. Before Killing Off a Character, Always Set Things Up
Don’t be scared to let one of your primary characters die. First, determine how much everyone cares about that individual. They are the most special individuals on the planet.
Readers will not feel grief if Jacob receives a phone call informing him that his son has died, even if you show Jacob grieving unless you’ve created a tie between Jacob and the readers unless you’ve prepared for the death ahead of time, showing Jacob’s love for his son, perhaps his ear for his life or his dreams for him.
If he’s never been mentioned, and we don’t know how much he matters to Jacob, the reader will have minimal emotional effect if he dies. If, on the other hand, Jacob was concerned about his kid’s safety or was present at his hospital bedside, the reader feels attached to both Jacob and his son, and his death might be upsetting.
7. Use the Beginning
The first sentences of your novel establish the tone. They enable readers to form mental images of the next content. Your conclusion should reflect the tone and picture you painted. It might have undergone visible or subtle changes. Use words, attitudes, and senses to elicit the desired emotion.
AAFT’s screenwriting courses will help you become one of those messengers ready to unleash emotions by being their voice.