Whereas in Plot & Structure we got tips on how to build a novel, Creating Character Emotions helps writers to find creative images, words and gestures to evoke feelings.
Ann Hood gives two pieces of advice:
1. To write like yourself. As Janet Burroway says in her book Writing Fiction that the ideas must be experienced through or with the characters ; they must be felt or the fiction will fail.
2. To separate life from fiction. We can’t rely on easy emotional associations or true stories to render fictional emotional truth; it will inevitably sound false.
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Anaïs Nin wrote that anxiety ” makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
That is the question to ask yourself when your want to see if you’ve successfully portrayed anxiety: Are you strangling the reader with his panic?
Gloria waited anxiously.
But those people in the hospital rooms, gray and dying, that was her. Could such a thing be possible? To die? Really? Yes, at some point she guessed you did die. But her? Now? So soon? With so little time to get used to the idea? ~I WANT TO LIVE, The Pugilist at Rest: Stories, Thom Jones.
Fondness is affection or liking for someone or something. In The Second Common Reader, Virginia Woolf wrote: ” Intimacy is a difficult art.” We shouldn’t confuse fondness with a stronger, riskier emotion such as passion.
Emily Dickinson wrote this in a letter, and I think it best sums up the emotion: “I felt it shelter to speak to you”
Shelter protects us, makes us feel safe, gives us security.
Robin! Stuart thought. And he thought it all the time. RobinRobinRobinRobinRobin! Could it be he had finally found the girl of his dreams?
Sparky Smith and I spent our school time smiling too much and running for office. We wore mittens instead of gloves, because everyone else did. We made our mothers buy us ugly knit caps with balls on top–caps that in our previous schools would have identified us as weird but we were part of the winter uniform in upstate New York. We wobbled onto the ice rink, practicing in secret, banged our knees, scraped the palms of our hands, so that we could be invited to skating parties by civilian children. ~DOG HEAVEN, Sweet Talk, Stephanie Vaughn.
Sadness is the condition or quality of being sad. Kathleen Norris wrote in HANDS FULL OF LIVING, Acedia & me,“When you are unhappy or dissatisfied, is there anything in the world more maddening than to be told that you should be contented with your lot?”
The biggest pitfall in rendering sadness is to confuse it with unhappiness. Unhappiness is more fleeting and does not run as deep as sadness, which is larger and more complex emotion.
Sadness filled Jessie. She looked at the empty house one last time, then slowly drove away.
(…) it was so intense, so overwhelming, so deep: she grabbed the thick pouch that was her stomach, she pulled at her hair, she pounded her bosom, large tears rolled out of her eyes and down her cheeks, and they came in such profusion that if they had become a new source of water, as in a myth or a firy tale, my samll self would not ahve been surprised. ~XUELA, The Autobiography of My Mother, Jamaica Kincaid.