Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Emotion Thesaurus

This last weekend I was honestly a writing machine. As in, I wrote 8 k in one day. That's a lot.

But this is regardless of the pace I write.

I wrote a scene and it felt a little off. So I enlisted the help of one of my fabulous writing friends who are always super honest with me no matter what, and asked her to read the scene for me and tell me what she thinks. Her response: it was good, but it lacked emotion.

I realized I'd heard this before. When I was writing my first (second?) draft of The Hollow Men, there was another scene that I wanted make sure was just right. I sent it off to a different friend, and her response was largely the same: the scene and story told were good, but it needed more emotion.

So once I came to this realization, I started thinking about how adding emotion into the narrative of my writing is yet another weak point for me. I freaked out a little bit, too, and kept asking everybody: how the heck do I add emotion into my writing?

Then, miss Sarah from Birds of a Writer gave me a link to this fantabulous thing called an Emotion Thesaurus, showcased on the website Writers Helping Writers.

I seriously haven't geeked out so much since I figured out how to use a semicolon properly.

This thesaurus is so amazing because it takes emotions and tells you, in a simple-to-read list format, the kinds of physiological responses humans have to emotions. This means that you can use your character's movements and actions to relay the kind of emotion they're feeling. Many of them I'd known already, but it was nice having them organized there, and when I went through and edited that first scene I was telling ya'll about, I kind of saw a difference.

Not trying to sell ya'll anything, I promise. It was just the most recent thing I've fangirled over and I find it completely fantastic.

So here's my question for ya'll: what're your writing weaknesses and how do ya'll overcome them?


1 comment:

  1. Rae, so glad you found your way to The Emotion Thesaurus! Hope it helps you a ton. There's also a free companion booklet--not sure if you were aware--that looks at conditions that "amplify" a character's emotional response, making them more reactive. It's set up the same, but for things like Pain, Hunger, Exhaustion, Attraction, Illness, Stress, etc. You can find it here: Just scroll to the bottom for the "Emotion Amplifiers" PDF.

    So glad you really pounded out the words this weekend--that's terrific. I love it when I get into the writing groove like that.

    Happy writing and revising!