The importance of emotions when writing your characters

When you?re reading, what it is that conjures up the images to go with the story? That moment of drawing you in so you can picture the scene as if it?s taking place before your eyes? If you can visualise the character so well you can clearly see them in your mind?s eye, the writer has achieved what they set out to do. To write a rattling good yarn. More importantly, one that you?ve enjoyed so much they become one of your favourite authors.

Obviously they?ve used descriptions of people and places to get you involved. But it?s about more than just looking at the story in front of you. You have to feel part of it. The writer has done his or her best. Conjured up a familiar smell perhaps. Or stirred up memories of your own. It?s not a magic formula they?ve used to get you hooked. Simply used their imagination and emotions to project the story into your own mind.

We all have them. Emotions. You?d think we wouldn?t need to be told what they felt like. But you?d be wrong. Like everything else there?re different levels to them all. A slow build up or sudden rage. A small sadness to raging grief. To name but a few. But when it comes to someone?s feelings you have to emphasise with them to such a degree you really care about what happens to them.

When it comes to fictional characters it?s the writer?s skill that makes you feel for them. Even villains and anti heroes have to evoke some kind of reaction otherwise they?re not doing their job. It?s the emotions they?ve been given that?ll make you feel the way you do about them. No matter how tough or strong you want them to be, if they?re human they?ll have doubts and vulnerabilities the same as everyone else.

As a writer the last thing you want to do is produce caricatures or cardboard cut-outs for characters. To make them human you have to give them the emotions all of us have. That means using your own when you create them. After all, if you can?t believe in their existence how can you expect anyone else to?

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