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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Author Insight: Getting Emotional

What is the hardest emotion for you to convey
on the page and why?

"I’m not sure I’ve had particular difficulty with anything…so far. Envy may be a little tough for me, especially if it’s the main character. It can be tricky to find that balance between a character’s yearning and resentment. You don’t want your MC to come across as bitter and unlikeable." - Kim Derting, author of The Body Finder.


"I honestly don't know. I like to think of myself as being pretty emotionally aware and I try to write my characters' emotions like I experience my own." - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.

"It’s not really hard for me to convey romance, but I don’t like doing it very much. I’m a tomboy at heart—I like writing fight scenes and magical showdowns and all that. I don’t mind reading other people’s romantic scenes, but I don’t like having to write it." - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"Desire, I think. I want it to feel authentic and original, but not cliche or crass." - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.

"I’m usually very in touch with how the character is feeling, though not necessarily how a scene will move from start to finish, the details that will propel the story forward. Those are the biggest challenges for me, being more of an overview thinker. I’m always learning from my detail friends how to build scenes from the ground up. " - Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me a Secret.

"Hmm. That’s an interesting question. So far I haven’t come up against any roadblocks there." - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

"It's not any one specific emotion. More often, I have trouble expressing emotions that are difficult or painful for Ethan (our narrator) to share. It's Ethan's story. We're just the ones telling it." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.


"Loss. Because I think you truly have to feel something in order to make it believable, and that's a hard thing to put yourself through as a writer." - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

"I don't know that I find any one emotion more difficult than others. If it fits the moment and the character, I think the emotion will usually flow. If I find I'm struggling with writing emotion, I usually try to step back and see if I'm trying to force something for the sake of the plot." - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.


"I think for me, the hardest emotion to convey is anger. I'm really not an angry person--my anger dial tends to stop somewhere in the region of Frustrated--so I have to be really mindful that when I'm trying to write a scene of unbridled rage, it isn't coming across as mild irritation." - Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Replacement.


"Humor. I love writers who can bring the funny, but it's not easy on the page. Much harder to control for timing." - Swati Avashti, author of Split.

"It's not an emotion, but an element of storytelling and it's description. Probably because I'm more interested in what's going to happen and what someone is going to say rather than knowing what they look like." - Alexandra Diaz, author of Of All The Stupid Things.


"In general, I don't like writing about sad emotions like grief. It makes me sad. (I do it anyhow, though!)"  - Leah Cypess, author of Mistwood.

"Love. It's really tricky, because you have to get it just right. You have to convey it enough that we believe character X truly and honestly loves character Y, but if you go overboard, then it can suddenly seem all ooey and gooey and, well, mushy. (Gee, can you tell I write boy books?) It's funny because I rarely write a book without romance, and I always look forward to the romantic bits, but then as soon as I get to them, it's like I suddenly realize how difficult they are to write. I think I look forward to them because it's like, ooh, hardcore emotion! Imma feed on that for days! (Did I mention I'm a polymorph, like on Red Dwarf? Yeah.) But then when I get there, having characters be all, "OMG, I LOVE you! Gimme smooches!" is pretty nauseating, and, hardcore emotion or not, not something I want to read, let alone write about." - Chelsea Campbell, author of The Rise of Renegade X.

"Frustration and annoyance. How to you explain that look? You know, the one where the eyes kind of…and the mouth sort of does that…thingy with the…you know." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons.

Come back Thursday to find out what emotion the rest of our authors think is most difficult to get across on paper!

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