I’m an emotional person. My mom used to say that if people looked at me cross-eyed, I’d burst into tears. If I see another person crying, I tear up. I cry at movies, sentimental commercials, and those Mom moments that tug on the heart.
Emotions help us to think through situations, deal with others, and guide us through life. We can make a positive impact on others with our emotions, or a negative one. Emotions are a choice.
Toward the end of February, I spent four days in sunny, but chilly Melbourne Beach, FL at a Deep Thinkers writers retreat through My Book Therapy. Award-winning authors and book therapists Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck taught fifteen of us how to dig deeper into our characters and widen our plots by adding stronger emotions to our characters.
The retreat was intensive. Many of us walked away with our heads reeling and hearts full of emotions. One of the goals of writing a great book is to allow readers to experience the same emotions as our characters. That way the characters linger in their thoughts long after the book has been finished.
Showing the character’s emotion is not easy. It’s more than saying she was afraid. In fact, the author is telling the reader what emotion to experience. It’s better to show the reader how the character is feeling through word, action, and deed.
Being an emotional person, this should be easy for me. It’s not. Sometimes I don’t know how to figure out what my character is feeling. However, God has place terrific people in my path who do.
Susie May Warren and Rachel Hauck write compelling fiction. Their novels go beyond naming the emotion and immerse the reader in the center of the scene, captivating with the emotions of the characters.
My good friend Reba Hoffman is a licensed psychologist who understands peoples’ emotions. She has the gift of encouragement and goes out of her way to make people smile. My life has been richly blessed since I met her.
My writing support group has decided to participate in our own March Madness WriNoMa–Write a novel in a month project. The purpose of the program is to just write…doesn’t matter if we are creating scenes in an existing novel, editing, doing revisions, or starting a new story from scratch.
Get. The. Words. Down.
At the Deep Thinkers retreat, Rachel challenged us to choose a motivational quote that inspires us and a scripture that we can pray over our words on a daily basis. Not read the verse and then pray, but pray the words of the scripture. She prays a verse from Daniel over her writing on a daily basis.
I chose a motivational quote from Vince Lombardi to challenge and inspire me:
and others is not a lack of strength,
known and read by everybody.
the result of our ministry written not with ink
but with the Spirit of the living God,
What a wonderful prayer! I second that Lord! I pray everyday, Lord show me who you want me to love for you today and give me strength to do it. Nice post.
Lisa, great post! Good quote and scripture. 🙂
Thanks for your sweet words, Anne. Great prayer to pray daily, especially when you're dealing with those unloveable people.
Thanks, Rach! You've inspired me…in more ways than one. 🙂
Wow, sounds like an incredible retreat! I still haven't read their books, but I really want to! Just haven't gotten ahold of one. I think I probably tell my character's emotions too often. This is good advice for me too heed in my rewrites. Thanks!
(and too cute about you and your crying)
Tracked down my photo of you and found your blog, LJ! Thanks for the reminders of all we learned at the retreat.