Emotive Writing: One More Time with Feeling

Movies have music.  TV has directors. Artists have color and texture. What do writers have to create the perfect mood for a scene?

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Words.

Jan exited the front door of her house, headed down the sidewalk and entered the waiting vehicle with driver.  They drove down the street and around the corner and introduced the car to the Mack Truck parked in the road. Death came.

Um…okay. That is a facts only account.  How can we spice it up?  Let’s try adding some power verbs.

 2130922569_1e01da2b88 Jan slammed the front door of her house, bolted down the sidewalk and jumped into the waiting vehicle with driver.  They sped down the street and around the corner and smashed the car into the Mack Truck parked in the road. Death ensued.

Hmm, better.  How about some impact in our nouns?

Jan slammed the screen door of her home, bolted down the cobblestone path and jumped into the waiting Porsche with her boyfriend.  They sped down Maplewood and around the cul-de-sac and smashed the classic sports car into the Mack Truck parked in the suburban neighborhood. Death ensued.

Well, those are great word choices, but do you have a nagging impression that something is still missing?  If so, you are right on the money.  There is no emotion in the paragraph.

Emotion is a writer’s ticket to moving stories from newsprint to novel, from flat and bland to staggering depth.

Many writers struggle with emotion in writing.  They lack an intimate connection with the drama of the scene.  I want to demonstrate how emotion can change a scene.

3271754319_859a4d60f3Let’s take our improved scene from above and play around with the emotions.  See if you can identify the emotion evoked in each rewrite.  Then practice in your own works of art.

Screaming at her father, Jan slammed the screen door of her home, bolted down the cobblestone path and jumped into the waiting Porsche with her boyfriend.

“Get me out of here! I hate him!” She growled.

Jimmy smirked. It worked. He had succeeded in driving a wedge between Jan and her father. He shoved the gas pedal to the floor.

They sped down Maplewood and around the cul-de-sac. Scanning her long tanned legs, Jim’s gaze made its way slowly up to her face.  Perfection!  She was his possession now.  Dear Daddy was out of the picture, finally.

“JIM!” Jan screamed. He jerked his attention to the road just before he smashed the classic sports car into the Mack Truck parked in the suburban neighborhood.

“I knew you’d be the death of me,” he gurgled through blood soaked teeth as he watched Jan’s life seep into the concrete.

What did you feel? Disgust? Anger? Justice? Confused? Frustrated? This was an exaggerated example, butminor changes can evoke emotion.   Now, let’s play with the feeling de jour.

“Bye, Daddy, see you soon!” Jan slammed the screen door of her home, bolted down the cobblestone path and jumped into the waiting Porsche with her boyfriend.

Leaning over the console, Jimmy gently embraced her and kissed her lips, gazing into her eyes.  Heat spread through her skin at his touch.

“Are you nervous?” His voice was tender as he stroked her cheek.

“A little,” butterflies wrestled in her stomach. “But I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you, Jimmy.”

He kissed her again, then started the engine to take them into their future together.  He laced his fingers through hers as they sped down Maplewood and around the cul-de-sac.

She leaned over and nestled into his shoulder, he was her soon-to-be-husband and the love of her life. He closed his eyes and planted a kiss on the top of her head.

“Jim!” she screamed. He jerked up just as he smashed the classic sports car into the Mack Truck parked in the suburban neighborhood.

The life they would never have flashed through her mind and she stretched a trembling blood-drenched hand to touch his cheek one last time.  They entered eternity, forever together.

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Emotion plays a huge role in telling the whole story, if we had changed our verbs in this example, we could have really created a softer, more romantic scene, especially with a slower more lyrical pace. Let’s try it one more time with a different feeling.

“Jimmy!” Jan squealed and slammed the screen door of her home, bolted down the cobblestone path and jumped into the waiting Porsche with her boyfriend.

“How’s my girl?” His eyes twinkled with mischief.

“I can’t wait to get to the beach! Party!” Jan reached down and pressed the button so the convertible top would roll back. She threw her face toward the sun and raised her arms.  Jim punched the stereo and Nicki Minaj blared into the blue sky.

Laughing and slapping playfully at each other to the booming base beat, they sped down Maplewood and around the cul-de-sac.

Jan sang and bounced along with the rap song. She rolled her shoulders and sent a wave through her arm to Jimmy’s bicep.  He bobbed his head to the beat and watched Jan maneuver through several crump moves.

Blinking away the flare of sunlight reflecting from something enormous in the road in front of them, they smashed the classic sports car into the Mack Truck parked in the suburban neighborhood.

A blood covered beach ball bounced down the street and the mangled teens flew from the car and skidded across the pavement. Nicki Manaj “Till the World Ends” vibrated in the puddles of oil, gasoline, and blood.

6768927805_61c04d9a26Okay, well happy death is not exactly easy, but you get the idea.  So jump into your WIP’s and rewrite it one more time, with feeling!

Try your hand at creating a different mood for the scene above in the comment section below, or just leave a helpful hint that you have learned about creating the right mood in a scene.

 

 

SunglassesLaDonna Cole loves to write fantasy/fiction, songs, and poetry. You can read samples of her work on her author pageAmazon_logo-8.

Or at www.HeartworkVillage.com,

immortalportals@wordpress.com,  or connect at

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