- Physicality to highlight emotions
- Use thoughts or dialogue to show emotion or sentiment
- Subtext can be used to show emotion
- Use imagery to suggest emotion
Conflict creates an endless list of emotions. Be ruthless with your main character. Put them in mortal danger, take away the things they love most, kill off their nearest and dearest and create all manner of trauma. All these create reactions and in turn they generate emotions. Don’t be afraid to push your characters, torment them or be mean to them. Physical and psychological pain creates emotion, too, and none more so when we sympathise or empathise with what the character is going through, because certain situations will be all too familiar to us.
Something else that packs the emotional punch is the descriptions you create. Manipulate them to emphasise the emotion and make them believe the feeling is all too real. Remember:
- Excellent characterisation is essential – create immediacy and a connection to the reader.
- Show, don’t tell.
- Emotive themes always make for emotional writing – loss of something or someone, grief etc.
- Create empathy and sympathy with familiar themes.
- Conflict & overcoming obstacles provides emotion.
- Quality of writing counts.
- Look inward for own experiences to convey them to the reader, however hard or painful.