December 5, 2016

How to Write an Emotional Scene that Will Make Both Readers Cry

By Michelle Sutton

I've been working on the writing craft for over twelve years now and I've learned a lot of things about creating character emotions that readers will feel as they read a book. One secret is realistic dialog. Have the character say something then provide an inner dialog that takes the reader even deeper into the character's thoughts and emotions.

You want your reader to forget they are reading a book. You want them to feel like they are the character and going through the same situation. If you tell the reader how to feel, though, you ruin the experience for them.

Very early on, I read a book called, "Stein on Writing" by Sol Stein. It was recommended by an editor friend and it changed the way I wrote. Stein talked about the writer creating an envelope and letting the reader fill it while reading the novel. Between that book and Orson Scott Card's book on creating character emotion, I started to finally grasp the concepts that revamped my writing style completely. 
Following the advice from these two books helped me reduce the "telling" problem that new authors often fall into when they first learn to write.

I then developed the technique of getting my reader into the character's head so the reader is inside the person looking out rather than being outside the character's head and watching them from a detached point of view. That's when the fun part of writing begins. There are so many ways to evoke emotion in a reader. The secret is to vary the way you describe things.

Describing visceral feelings will create emotional responses in the reader.  Scenes describing the tension in a character's muscles, the furrowing of their brow, clenching their fists, blinking back tears, and swallowing that painful tightness in the throat are ways to cause the reader to experience emotion.

Writing that a character cried causes them not to cry per Orson Scott Card. I try to remember that when I create an emotional scene. That said, I just sobbed through a scene from a book I wrote back in 2009. If I can feel the emotion, then hopefully my readers will, too. That's what every author wants…to create a powerful emotional experience for the reader.

Emotional responses to novels are what cause word of mouth sales and it is the best form of marketing. Everyone wants to feel something when they read a story or what's the point? The key is to get them to care about the characters and to experience life inside the character's head.

Thanks for reading my blog post.
Michelle Sutton is the author of over twenty inspirational novels, and an avid blogger and book reviewer. She resides in Arizona. Her social media links are MichelleSutton on twitter, MichelleSuttonAuthor and AuthorMichelleSutton on Facebook, and my book review blog is

No comments:

Post a Comment