How to Create a Strong Emotional Response in Your Readers

I saw this article and I knew I just had to share it. I’m an emotional reader. If the book doesn’t inspire any kind of emotion in me be it good or bad I don’t stay invested in it. I give up like I would stale chicken. I won’t keep eating it hoping I’ll get the flavor I know it’s meant to have when I get closer to the bone.

This is why I work hard to be an emotional writer as well. I practice what I preach. In this sermon Jackie Johansen a guest on the blog Love, Write, Thrive has something meaningful to say.

I strongly recommend you follow this blog, Live, Write, Thrive. The author/editor running it has a lot of helpful tips for authors, especially new writers.


man jumpingYou are writing your book, and you are excited thinking of others reading it. You understand what your characters are feeling, and you understand what you want your readers to feel.

You know what it is liked to feel something from a book. The books that stirred you stick in your mind—they mean the most to you, and they often changed your thinking about ourselves or the world.

You want this for your readers. You want this for yourself.

Often the books that end up on best-seller lists carry a heavy emotional punch. Books that lack emotionality fall flat. When that emotionality isn’t infused in our work, our characters fall flat. The work as a whole can fall flat, and unfortunately the result will be unmemorable novel.

Luckily, creating a strong emotional response in your audience is easy to do.

First, you have to keep in mind that emotions are just energy in motion. They have the ability move from you and transfer to the words on the page, then come alive in your readers. If you approach your writing feeling uninspired or doubtful about what you are saying, your words wont have the strong emotional impact you intend.

For example, we have all had moments of anger, sadness, and joy. When immersed in big feelings, we might write in our journal or write a letter to process what is going on inside us. If we reread what we wrote, we are taken back to that feeling. It is captured there on the page.

The most powerful writing comes from a writer really feeling something.

Connecting to the emotionality of your experience and writing from this place allows you to be in your creative power. In this state the words will flow effortlessly from your fingers because the energy of the emotion is propelling the work forward.

Prep yourself first: get into a writing mind

Doubt, resistance, distraction, and feeling ungrounded can negatively affect your writing. To help, pump yourself up before approaching your writing practice.

Plan to let your words flow no matter what. Give yourself a pep talk, make a commitment to write, and create with confidence and beautiful vulnerability.

Pull forward the creativity, wisdom, and aliveness that are innate in you. Feel the expansion of your emotional capacity, mirrored in your rising chest, as you take a deep breath and dive into your work.

When you want your writing to have more emotional depth, you need to feel what you want your readers to feel.

If you want readers to experience joy and elation, pull up a memory that makes you feel these emotions. Feel them in your body. Feel them running through you. Write from this state.

If you want to create a feeling of sadness, or elicit tears from your readers, take some time and get to a space when you are writing from a sadness that is palpable for you. Let this experience pour onto the page.

We have access to a wide array of emotions because we are emotional beings.

Often the various feelings that you want to bring to your work are ones you already experience at some time during your day.

When away from your writing desk, notice when various feelings pop up, and allow yourself to feel them. They are always in movement. You don’t have to dwell in them, but rather, experience them for what they are, and allow them to pass through you.

The more you tenderly notice your emotional states during the times you are not writing, the more gracefully you will bring depth to your work and readers’ experience.

There are many emotions captured in written language, but we are most familiar with only a small handful of them.

Don’t limit yourself or your writing. Google a list of “emotion” words to help bring awareness to various emotional states. Notice the nuances of the common feelings (anger, sadness, joy, etc.). Notice the subtleties and the similarities of different emotional experiences.

When you want to bring more of these feelings into your writing, tap into the wisdom of your body.

We have all experienced how our bodies change when we are feeling sad versus happy or confident. Our bodies and emotions are connected. We can use our bodies to shift our emotional state.

When writing, take on the posture of what you want your readers to feel. This quickly shifts your emotional state, your writing, and your thinking. Be present with the felt experience of what you want translated onto the page.

Trust the knowing that emotions are a universal human experience.

What you’re feeling will translate into your work. What you are feeling will resonate in the hearts of those receiving your words.

When you are open to experiencing different emotional states, you and your work will take on a powerful creative momentum. You will have taken control over your work in a new way. By surrendering to the feelings coming up for you, and the feelings you want your readers to feel, your work becomes more solid and alive.

Jackie Johansen headshotJackie Johansen is a writer and soul seeker. She writes at Finally Writing, where she combines personal development with actionable writing strategies to help you write the words that will inspire the world. If you are ready to unleash your inner writer and get writing from the inside out, start the free 21-Day Writing Challenge.

Feature Photo Credit: danorbit. via Compfight cc

How I learned to write

Live to Write - Write to Live

Today’s guest post comes from Robert C. Deming, an indie author who writes modern cowboy stories about honest, hard-working, independent, courageous good guys. His first two novels (both mysteries in an on-going series) are set in the beautiful Enchanted Rock State Park in his home state of Texas. We hope you enjoy this post and will make him feel welcome. 

I minored in English in college instead of French because I was something of a slacker; I knew I wouldn’t get past French – Advanced Grammar and Composition, and, anyway, my roommates were all engineers, who make anyone feel like a slacker.  I became a military pilot, a good career for a slacker, and spent a great deal of time waiting beside a big jet for WWIII.  Lots of the guys entertained themselves during those slack times (the Cold War – we won that one!) with “Economics Class,” an all-night poker…

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Guest post: Writing the Small Town by Lea Ryan

Morgen 'with an E' Bailey

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of story locations is brought to you by fantasy and horror author Lea Ryan.

Writing the Small Town

The setting in a story is almost as important as the characters in the story. In fact, when written correctly, the setting can almost be a character in and of itself. Some people think of small towns as being boring. I beg to differ. I think small towns can be just as interesting as big cities when they have enough flavor.

The town I live in now is pretty small, so I had some inspiration for the one I used for the town of Fosters Branch in ‘Destined for Darkness’ and the sequel, ‘Devil in the Branch’ (coming July 2012).

Small Midwestern towns in the US usually look pretty similar to mine. Main Street (or whatever the locals dub it) is a line of…

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Writing isn’t enough. Authors must also master public speaking.

Live to Write - Write to Live

I know you don’t want to hear it, but it’s true.

It’s no longer enough to be a brilliant writer – to craft characters and worlds, to give ideas foundations and wings. Now, (on top of being her own PR maven and marketing wiz) a writer also has to be a personality – a performer. We need to be not only the brain behind our book, but also the engine behind our sales and promotion.

It’s not an easy task, and for many writers, the toughest part is the public speaking.

There’s good news, though: You can learn to excel at public speaking … and even enjoy it.

Your “voice” is more than your words. 

When we writers talk about “voice,” we are most often referring to the elusive quality – the je ne sais quoi – that defines an author’s writing style. However, most successful writers also develop a…

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Making Your Writng Dreams Come True

Live to Write - Write to Live

What’s your dream as a writer? Is it to see your name on a book in the bookstore? Is it to see your byline in the New York Times or the New Yorker?  Is it to see a child reading your book and laughing?

When you think about that dream—the one you really, really want—how does it feel?

When you think about becoming a best-selling author, do you feel good? Happy, excited? Or do you feel defeated or diminished?

When you find out a friend just had something published and you think: That’ll be me someday–How does that feel?

I could be wrong, but I believe that if you feel lousy when you think about your big dream, it’s much less likely to come true.

How can you feel good when you think that big dream is so far out of your reach?

Start by making a list.

Make a…

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