The Path Not Taken, Yet

muddy-path

This is a difficult blog for me to write. I’ve been sort of avoiding it since I got home from the Writing by Writers conference in Tomales Bay, Calif. But a week has passed and it’s time to step up. The reason I’ve been avoiding this blog is that as soon as I articulate what I’m about to say, as soon as I tell you what I think, I have to follow through. That’s just how I am. You’ll never know if I do it or not, but I will. Continue reading

Emotions Should Lead to Decisions

Here’s a tidbit from the Bookshelf Muse, which I came across this week: Emotions should lead to decisions. Angela Ackerman writes, “Always keep the story moving forward. A character agonizing over a choice will crank up the tension and heighten stakes, but too much will slow the pace. Remember too, often when emotion is involved, we make mistakes. Mistakes = great conflict!” Continue reading

Emotion Is Not Always What, But Where

A writer’s ability to evoke emotion is the one skill that separates the greats from the mediocres. I’ve been compiling advice, articles, chapters, blogs posts and more that explain how a write can evoke emotion.  So far, all of the examples, tips, and devices and I’ve read explain what to do, and I wrote about this yesterday in my post “Fiction Should Evoke Emotion.” But I think where might be equally important.

Continue reading

Fiction Should Evoke Emotion

The most important thing a piece of fiction can to do is evoke emotion in the reader. This is the goal of all art, isn’t it? To evoke emotion? The question is, how do the great writers do it? I’ve been digging around on this subject quite a bit lately and I have to say, I’m not finding much. It surprises me. I’d expect to see every craft book devoting entire chapters to the topic. I would expect to see entire books devoted to it.

I’m just starting to explore the idea of emotion, so expect more entries on this topic. For now, let me just share a few resources with you that may be helpful. Continue reading

An Emotion ‘Tasting’ Chart

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about emotion in fiction — how to convey it, how to evoke it. I have a lot to say about it and am sure that my comments will evolve and grow over time. For today, I simply want to point you to a very interesting chart that breaks emotions down from the primary feelings of love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness and fear (there’s some debate on what the primary feelings are, by the way) to the secondary and tertiary emotions that those primary feelings embody. Continue reading