The Power of Emotion in Fiction

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Listening to many podcasts and professional authors, I’ve repeatedly heard them preach the value of emotions. Sure, a thrilling plot carries a reader through a story, and excellent characters bring depth to the story, but emotion brings the reader deeper into the story.

I just finished reading Chapter 7 of Bloodline from Will Wight’s Cradle series, and the emotion slapped me across the face. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but the main protagonist, Lindon, experiences a moment of grief so profound, I could feel it.

I’m a pretty big fan of Will Wight, having read his Traveler Gate and Cradle Series. Will Wight is not perfect, but he intentionally orchestrated this moment over nine novels. The weight of a series and hundreds of thousands of words and character development hit at this moment.

When I got to the end of the chapter, the grief hit me, and having written stories, the emotion resonated with me and I applauded Will for this development and this moment. Of course, I can identify with the emotion and that draws me into the story, bonds me to the protagonist, and incites me to carry on with the story (and write the blog post).

As a writer, I could critique the chapter, but the compelling nature of the story and this glorious character moment outshines the mistakes, and while I will always advocate for well-written work, the emotion serves as a prime example of how to win over readers of all backgrounds.

Emotion is a universal subjective reality for humanity and transcends most, if not all, barriers. Emotion rules some, and I would not use it as a tool to manipulate, but I think it’s important to use a spectrum of emotion throughout a story to help make it come alive.

This is definitely something I’m working on, and for the readers, I hope you find that emotional connection to characters. For the writers out there, I hope you experience the joy of developing characters and a story to produce such fulfilment for yourself and the readers.


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