Writing the perfect scene -this is the small unit structure of writing paragraphs and action similar to Kamy Tang's advice but you will learn how to write an MRU!
Margie Lawson has Lecture Packets designed to help balance dialogue, narrative, exposition, emotion, body language she calls the EDITS system.
How do we express emotion? How do we engage our audience in our character’s feelings? According to Butler, there are a number of ways in which our characters can experience emotion on the written page. They are as follows:
1)An Unseen or Physiological Response Inside the Body - Your character feels emotion immediately through his or her body. This could be an increase in heart beat, a change in temperature (hot or cold) stomach clenching, breath coming faster.
2) A Sensual Reaction Outside the Body – Your character will also express emotion through his or her body language. Your character will start by feeling the emotions (and sensual reactions) inside the body first, and then translate that emotion into the physical. The body will react. Think about your character’s posture, facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, teeth chattering, throwing something.
3) Emotional Flashes in the Present- a detail that symbolizes memory or emotion in the present (imagery with worlds like) or a lover's scarf with their smell on it .
4) Emotional Flashes of the Past - memories connecting to deeper emotion in the past. When humans experience emotion we reference moments from our past in our minds. Small flashes of memory show up in our consciousness. These moments don’t come as ideas but as vivid images. These images could include memories of similar emotion, people, environments, etc. Think about what your character’s triggers are from his/her past, and how they may surface in the present.
5) Emotional Flashes of the Future - Similar to flashes from the past, a character can also flash forward to the future during an emotional moment. These flashes show what the character desires, his future goals, dreams, fears, or consequences as these flashes have not yet come into existence.
6) Sensual Selectivity – Consider your character’s surroundings at the moment of emotion. At any given time your character will be surrounded with hundreds of sensual cues. But the mind cannot process everything at once, the character will select certain elements in his/her environment with which to focus upon. Often one is not conscious of this selection, instead one’s emotions hone in on something deeper, that the character is not aware of. The emotion (in a way) makes the selection. Use your landscape to help reveal character.
7)Each Situation Should have Internal Dialogue questioning or responding to the situation and external dialogue questioning or responding to the situation.
8) Each Situation Should Have a Physical Response to indicate a decision or acknowledgement of future action (hand tightening on a knife in decision).
For further study on emotions these are also excellent resources:
Getting Into Character-Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors by Brandilyn Collins shows how actors get into the character and show emotions. She uses this to show writers how to do the same thing.
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