February 8, 2019

More Emotional Bang for Your Book: Part One

By  C.C. Hunter, AKA Christie Craig

Readers read to feel.  Without enough emotional bang on the page, a reader might not turn that page.  Below are two emotion building techniques seen in novels and films.

  1. Add a Pebble—an inanimate object that has an emotional significance to a character.

Most of us have something, our grandmother’s pearls or our brother’s dog tags.  Things that we’d run back into the house for if it was on fire.  I call them pebbles.  The best pebbles are connected to the character’s goal or the theme of the book.  A pebble resonates with a character’s emotional need or shows an emotional growth.  Pebbles allow you to power pack the emotion in a scene and a book. 

Example A: Think of the snow globe in While You Were Sleeping and how it connected to the heroine’s goal of getting a passport stamp.  When her fiancĂ©’s brother—whom she secretly loved—gave her the snow globe as a wedding present, the viewer’s heart broke because they knew he was the man she should marry.  If it had been any other present, it wouldn’t have carried the same emotional impact.

Example B: In Don’t Close Your Eyes, the hero, a musical savant, gave up playing the saxophone at the age of fifteen because he felt responsible for his sister’s death.  When the heroine sees the instrument in the hero’s home and asks him to play it, he refuses.  She surmises he has an emotional connection to the saxophone.  When issues arise in the relationship, and he’s been drinking, he blurts out, “I wish I deserved you.  I wish I deserved music.” Later, during the plot’s dark moment, she leaves not knowing if their relationship will work.  But first, she turns to him and asks for one thing. For him to play the saxophone. When she returns, he surprises her by playing the instrument in a restaurant.  The reader instantly knows our hero has let go of the guilt.  The reader also sees the heroine cared enough to understand the hero’s issues.  What is your character’s pebble?  Can you use this in your book?

  1. Having a Character Break a Personal Rule—showing a character when he/she is forced to change their moral compass.

Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken.  And the consequences can bring tons of emotion to the page.  When a character does something they normally wouldn’t, it ratchets up the tension.  Consider having an honest person lie because they know the truth would be too painful for someone else. 
Consider a woman with a seven-dates-before-sex rule sleeping with the hero on the first date.  What about a by-the-book teacher passing a student who didn’t quite make the grade because of circumstances.  Or a good, moral cop who plants evidence because the real evidence got thrown out of court due to a technicality.  Or having a man who never calls a girl until a week after their first date, pick up the phone the next morning. 

Example:  Consider the movie Pretty Woman.   She’s a call girl who has a rule to never kiss a John on the mouth, but she eventually gives in and kisses a John, turned hero, with passion.  By giving the character that rule and showing her break it doubles the emotion in the scene.

Monday, C.C. Hunter AKA Christie Craig will conclude with More Emotional Bang for Your Book: Part Two. 
C.C. Hunter, AKA Christie Craig, born and raised in Alabama, now hangs her hat in Texas.  Author of forty books, she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.  Whether penning her young adult or her adult romantic suspense novels, her ability to create emotional connection to the reader is her trademark.  On February 8thThis Heart of Mine, a story of young girl’s journey to receive a heart transplant that comes with the murdered donor’s memories will release in paperback.  On March 26thIn Another Life, a story of young girl who discovers she was kidnapped as a child, will release.Find more information at or  Join her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Christie Craig URLs Twitter  Facebook Goodreads Instagram CC Hunter URLs  Twitter  Facebook

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