Purple Prose + writerly books

Writerly Quotes: Emotions


As you know, I love craft books on writing. I’ve decided to showcase some of them by sharing quotes that deals with a particular element. Today I’m focusing on emotion.


Emotional Elements: Wind as a sexiness all its own. It can ring the wind chime. It can lift the hem of a filmy skirt. It can comb her long locks in a convertible. It can wave the flag. It can carry rain and drive snow. It can push the curtains aside in a boudoir window. It can dance with autumn leaves. And it can whistle through the high country pines with a song so magical I get goose bumps. And that’s what we want from any of these elements—goose bumps.

Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot by Peter Dunne

Pay special attention to the events leading up to an emotional response. If the plotting feels contrived, the character’s reaction will seem contrived as well.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi (love love love this resource)

Showing your reader an emotion is far stronger than telling your reader that emotion. You tell the emotion by naming it. You show the emotion by showing the character’s physiological reactions at moments of high tension. Keep asking yourself, “How does my character feel? What does my character feel?” If you can answer those questions with a physiological response, then you have a potent way to give your reader a powerful emotional experience.

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson (this is where the Emotion Thesaurus is helpful)

Think of each scene as a mini-movie. It must have a beginning, middle, and an end. And it must also have something happen that causes the emotional tone to change drastically.

Save the Cat by Blake Synder

Extended Metaphors: In this technique, you refer to the same metaphor at two, three, or four different points in a single scene; each mention adds another layer of emotion meaning . . . . I you use the extended metaphor to convey emotion in a scene, the guidelines are the same as for a single metaphor: aptness, moderation, and congruity with setting.

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

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Writerly Quotes: Emotions + writerly books