Posted by: Jodi | April 13, 2010

Emotional Impact

This amazing public service announcement has circulated around in the blogosphere and in email.  If you haven’t seen it yet, here is your chance to be amazed and touched.

I recommend watching with the sound up or even better, with headphones.

I first ran across this ad in a different writer’s blog weeks ago; sadly I can’t remember whose blog it was.  If it was you speak up so I can add a link!

When writing a story it is vital to make readers feel.  Expressing emotion doesn’t have to be difficult or long-winded.  In this video there are no words, very little happens; yet the first time I saw it I was deeply moved.  Some may argue it’s completely different than writing because there is video and music; the viewer can see exactly what is happening in the scene.  “A picture is worth a thousand words,” right?  Not necessarily.

Think about a story or a book.  After a few pages, if the writer has done their job well, you should be able to “see” the characters and the setting.  After a few chapters, you should have a good feel for the persona of the characters; what makes them react.  This is the “video and music” of the story.  All that needs to happen to inject some emotion, whether it is humor, longing, or fear; is to use well worded subtle imagery.  It takes much more work than simply saying “she was sad,” or “he felt relieved.”  But it’s worth it.

Don’t be afraid to make your characters feel; there is nothing gained by having an emotionless, overly stoic character stalking the pages.  Unless he is a robot, but then even Data on Star Trek sought to discover emotion.

Pay attention to the world around you and focus on what emotions look like, and how they affect you internally.  Take notes.  Seek out experiences that expand your emotional repertoire.

How will you feel today?

PS – My writing buddy Rik over at Uphill Writing wrote fantastic post on this theme, go check it out.

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Responses

  1. You’re absolutely right ~ if we don’t engage our readers on some level . . . they will tune out and not hear the messages we’re sending.

    Great video clip to share your message today.

    I’m posting a link on FB to share this with my writing buddies.

    • Nancy, you’re the bestest! It was your link on Monday that took my stats through the roof.

      • Yay!

        I’m delighted to hear that! I’ll try to remember to do it on a regular basis.

  2. Excellent post, and you’re right, a very moving video.

    Adding context to a theme is a tricky thing to do, but one we can accomplish with work.

    I hope you don’t mind the following link, but it is a post I wrote about this very thing some months ago.

    http://uphillwriting.org/2010/03/16/text-and-context/

    • That is a great post. In fact, I’m going to embed a link to it from mine.

  3. […] Emotional Impact: An exploration on how to use emotion in writing […]


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