09 October 2008

Character Emotion

In order to continue to reading or watching, readers and audiences need to understand and care about the characters. Even bloggers have to create a compelling character in order to hold a reader's attention. Yes, the action has to be exciting and there has to be some meaning attached to the writing. But, what people most identify with is the character.

One terrific way to help a reader connect is to "show" the character's response to the conflict and action. Not the character's internal monologue about how she feels about what just happened to her through the conflict and the action, what is best is an actual action or behavioral response.

Early in the story, the character's emotional responses as shown through their actions help identify and develop the character. Later in the story, the character's transformation is revealed through the transformation of their choices and behavioral responses.

We connect to one another through emotion.

A character's emotional reactions that come as a response to other dramatic action incidents deepen the readers and audience's understanding of who the character really is. When we know how the conflict emotionally affects the character, we care about the character.

Each time the character succeeds or fails as they go after their specific goals, follow up by "showing" their emotional reaction to their success or failure. By this, I do NOT mean, to "tell" us in internal monologue about how they are feeling, but to "show" us as an actual dramatic action response.

Writers are usually great at showing the character in dramatic action. Often, however, writers fail to "show":

** the character in preparations for conflict


** the character in reaction after the conflict

Of the three -- (1) a character in preparation for conflict, (2) a character in conflict, (3) a character in reaction to conflict -- what scenes flow the most freely from you?