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Thursday, June 3, 2010

More Author Insight: Getting Emotional

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

"I don't think I can answer this. I've been thinking about it for a while, and nothing comes to mind. The hardest, most intense emotions, are also the most fun. I love challenging myself." - Tessa Gratton, author of Blood Magic.

"Believe it or not, romance is the hardest thing for me to write. I agonize over it. I don’t want to make it sound cheesy or unbelievable, but I still want it to be tender and real and able to make readers melt. Action, on the other hand, that’s easy. Give me a good bloody sword fight any day." - Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King.

"Impatience, nervousness, exasperation...really any emotion without resorting to clichés like rolling the eyes or tapping a foot. There's so much we've been programmed, as readers, to expect as cues for emotions that it's sometimes tough to break out of that habit. Lazy writing and overused clichés are the bane of my existence! (...is "bane of my existence" an overused phrase? GAH!)" - Dawn Metcalf, author of Skin & Bones.

"Good question! But I can't think of one..." - Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of Sisters.

"My first two thoughts are total opposites, but I guess that’s okay if you factor in the title of my novel. Sadness is hard, because I can’t just have the character collapse onto her bed in a sobbing mess. Happiness is difficult, too, because I can’t just have her jump up and down clapping her hands. But really, any emotion is difficult because there are so many clichés characters can fall into." - Kristina McBride, author of The Tension of Opposites.

"Probably…. hmm… well… I’m going to go with despair, if only because it’s so hard to pull it off in a way that’s honest and not melodramatic. I also find rage to be particularly troublesome for the same reason—it’s very easy to turn on the CapsLock key and start adding a few too many exclamation points." - Alexandra Bracken, author of Brightly Woven.

"Desire. I'm a little afraid of going there!" - Janet Fox, author of Faithful.

"Probably anger. It always ends up slipping into melodrama." - Steph Bowe, author of Girl Saves Boy.

"Sadness, because angst very quickly becomes annoying to me! Sadness is, of course, a necessary element to every story, but because there is such a tendency in YA fiction to overindulge in angst, I tend to avoid it more than I probably should." -Riley Carney, author of The Fire Stone.

"I'd love to hear some better synonyms for smile. So far I've got smile and grin. Any suggestions anyone?" - Shari Maurer, author of Change of Heart.

"It depends on the character. Whatever they don't want to reveal is the hardest for me to get on the page. I just finished an entire book populated by two POV characters, neither of whom wanted to reveal anything about themselves. Dental surgery would have been more fun than writing that book- though I'm so pleased with it now that it's finished."  - Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer.

"I’ve never thought about this before, but maybe fear. More than actually showing the character feeling scared, you probably need to scare the reader, and that feels like a daunting task." - Jessica Leader, author of Nice and Mean. 

"Hm... I'm not really sure. I guess for me I really have to be in the zone to write my heartbreaking scenes. Most of my novels have them, and I actually love writing them, but I can't just sit down and do it. I have to build up because as I'm writing it, I feel it." - Suzanne Young, author of The Naughty List.

"Lust, probably. I can convey the emotion just fine, but describing any kissing makes me get all red and blushy. It took me about a week to write the tango scene in Eyes Like Stars and I think I was the color of a fire engine the entire time." - Lisa Mantchev, author of the Theatre Illuminata series.

"I think it's really hard to evoke laughter - to be truly funny. A comedian I am not!" - Lisa Schroeder, author of Chasing Brooklyn.

"Probably anger. Women are still not encouraged to express anger, and many of us develop all sorts of blocks in that area." - Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year.

"Sexual attraction because I write for tweens who often find it confusing." - Bonnie Doerr, author of Island Sting.

Come back Tuesday to find out how our authors move on after they've hit a snag in their story!


  1. I know I've said it before, but I just LOVE how you do these interviews. No one else does it like this. Great job!

  2. I love this, one question to lots of authors instead of a lot of questions to one author. Amazing!

    Emotion is the hardest thing to portray in writing (I'm trying to get it right!)and getting the reader to feel that connection that you want them to.

    Great interviews!