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Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Author Insight: Expressing Emotion

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

"Even though I've suffered from anxiety and depression my whole life, I'm working with a character now who has a touch of PTSD, and it's challenging - mostly because she IS so strong. It's hard to convey that core of strength through all the fear of anxiety she's currently experiencing - mostly so that fans of her in the first book will be reassured that she's not been irrevocably changed, that she just has a new set of challenges ahead of her. I don't want her to look like she's breaking down completely, or has been weakened to the point of uselessness." - Lia Habel, author of Dearly Departed.

"I think they're all hard.  I always try to make emotions physical.  Cold feet, hot face, tight stomach, goose bumps, drained sinuses, quivery knees, that kind of thing.  I think if readers feel it, they'll feel it.  Know what I mean?" - Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast.


Pure confusion is easy. I am often confused so it's a familiar emotion. (For example, the other night, the electricity was out, and I woke up in darkness completely convinced that I was at a carnival and could not find the exit. I wandered around my room, bumping into the bed and walls until my brain finally properly identified the sleeping mound as my husband, not a slumbering dancing bear. So I do known confusion)

But confusion where the point-of-view character is confused but the reader isn't... that's technically tricky to pull off. You have to walk this fine line of capturing the emotion while painting the scene. As with writing anything, the trick is to pick the right details." - Sarah Beth Durst, author of Drink, Slay, Love.

"Grief. It’s hard to do well without turning into cliché or melodrama. There’s a scene in my sequel that I’m dreading, because I know Cate will be devastated, and conveying the depth of it will be hard." - Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked.

"Probably the early stirrings of romance. It's so hard not to revert to cliches and to find an original way to describe that wonderful, fluttering feeling. (See? It even sounds stupid when I describe it here.)" - Marianna Baer, author of Frost.

"Desire.  It comes in so many forms and sparks so many other, secondary emotions: lust, avarice, jealousy, greed.  Hate.  Desire, like revenge, is sweet, but there’s sometimes hell to pay after.
" - Ilsa Bick, author of Ashes.

"I think surprise, fright or shock is the hardest thing for me to convey. I don’t know why—maybe because when we are truly surprised, it’s such a fast, fleeting sensation. I feel limited when trying to describe it." - Angie Frazier, author of The Eternal Sea.

  "Boredom. I am rarely, rarely bored." - Stacey Jay, author of Juliet Immortal.

 "Optimism, because I am generally a pessimist. " - Stephanie Perkins, author of Lola & the Boy Next Door.
"I think fear can be hard to convey, because real fear is so often just a white-out of panic, without thought." - Amy Garvey, author of Cold Kiss.
"Any really deep emotion is always hard for me to write, which is probably one reason I usually gravitate toward writing humor." - Gemma Halliday, author of Deadly Cool.

  "Loss of a loved one. *Knock on wood* I haven’t lost anyone close to me to death and I cringe to think how horrible that would be. I imagine what it might feel like, but it’s not from experience." - Brena Pandos, author of The Emerald Talisman.

"Sadness is easy to convey, but the act of crying is so difficult.  There aren’t enough words.  It feels like cliché." - Beth Kephart, author of You are My Only.

Stop by Tuesday to find out if the authors have ever worried what fans would think of a scene while they were writing it!
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