Emotions Make Everything In A Story Connect

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Try to paint emotion in thick when you have a dramatic scene.

Use more words than you think you need.

When Bonnie, your killer, is about to confront a random fisherman after the murder, YOU have the scene in your head. You’re seeing it in all its tension-filled glory.

But is the reader?

Did you put it on the page?

Usually, no.
The remedy? Deliver MORE than an adequate amount of info. For the scene to sear itself into the reader’s mind, we need to go bigger at those times. Have her holding her breath, wiping sweaty palms on her pants leg, interspersing thoughts about do I have a second kill I’m about to have to make? What does he want? Is this car a cop?

Then, dwell there.

Readers are reading SO FAST at those times (because it’s exciting), YOU can add and add and add and make us wade through it, because it’s hugely dramatic. What tales hours to write takes mere seconds to read – and we want the reader in that moment for as looooong as possible, to heighten the drama.

Here’s a good EXAMPLE, broken down into detail.

How long would it take to read 45 seconds of material when you are reading FAST?

(I don’t know, but it’s a lot.) Set a timer and see how many words you get through (of someone else’s book) in 45 seconds. Count the words and add about 25% to it. That’s the minimum you should have between Bonnie seeing the strange truck coming and her deciding to leave.

Next, there’s a scene in Stephen King’s book Pet Sematary where a jogger gets his skull bashed in by a passing car and dies on the MC’s floor. Get the book from the library or buy it online and read that scene. It’s a cheap lesson in drama writing from a real master.

Read that passage.

King shows the scene and then details the brain showing and whatnot, so

we HAVE to dwell there for a moment, in that gross visual. And he holds our nose right up to it.It’s gory but it has an effect.

You’re supposed to be grossed out because the MC was. This is different, but it’s the same idea.

It’s a technique. Use it.

The difference in detail here versus regular scenes will be noticeable but since you only employ it at highly dramatic times, readers will not even care; they will simply feel the character was deeply into the scene, so the reader will be – which is what we want.

Your reader is your willing accomplice. Give them what they came for.




Dan Alatorre has had a string of bestsellers and is read in over 112 countries around the world.

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Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

3 thoughts on “Emotions Make Everything In A Story Connect

  1. Hi Dan,

    I like your suggestion of grabbing the reader through the vivid description. Would you say we should not use that level of intensity more than once in a book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh sure. There are many places to dive deep, and many places to not. The trick is knowing when to do which. Typically, what I see with new writers is they spent a lot of time describing things that are not important or that are common, and they should really really save that deep dive for places that are unique in the story or things that are uncommon.

      It goes along with showing versus telling and it’s a delicate balance but with a little practice it’s easy to develop an eye for it, and if you look at somebody’s manuscript/book like Stephen king or any of the well-known popular authors (or me), with an eye for when are they diving deep and when are they not, you’ll start to see it – and then you’ll be able to apply it to your own stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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