Emotions are contagious. More contagious than any disease. A smile or grimace will spread through a group of people far faster than any sneeze ever could.
As writers, our job is to make sure that readers are moved by what we write.
When we can connect with our reader on an emotional level, we engage them and keep them interested.
To do this, we need to pay attention to the emotions of the people in our stories.
After all, words are merely costumes for the emotions built deep in our primordial soup. These are emotions such as: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, and Surprise.
Emotion is key.
Emotion is essential in both fiction and nonfiction.
Study Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions. Knowing the purpose of each emotion lets you use them in your work, both fiction and nonfiction.
It can be helpful to keep it handout when you’re writing.
Your goal as a storyteller is to get your readers to feel one or more of these emotions. If your story doesn’t trigger any of them, then it’s not really a story.
It’s just a list of facts.
And that’s not very interesting. It’s not the kind of writing that sells.
In a guest post in Writer’s Digest’s editor blog, David Corbet said, “To create genuine emotion when crafting a scene, identify the most likely or obvious response your character might have, then ask: What other emotion might she be experiencing? Then ask it again—reach a ‘third-level emotion.’ Have the character express or exhibit that. Through this use of the unexpected, the reader will experience a greater range of emotion, making the scene more vivid” (para. 5)