How to write emotional scenes

Some people find it really difficult to write emotional scenes and others find them really easy. On this thread, everyone can share their tips and trick on writing emotional scenes to help others! :smiley_cat:

Here are a few of mine:

  • Don’t have too much dialogue in an emotional scene, it ruins the atmosphere in many cases

  • Find out what emotion you want to generate in that scene and erase all the synonyms from your text. I mean, you shouldn’t tell the reader that the character is sad, but show to make the reader feel the same!

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There are some websites where they have pages for different emotions and how they are portrayed in like behaviour.

This one really helped me a lot to be able to show and not tell emotions. I am considering to buy like the full pdf version. Having the knowledge in general of what ways people can show emotions really helps to write a good scene.

Another kinda cliche one, but the setting of the scene can really help with bringing across the emotion.

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Don’t be super overdramatic, like describing them so intensely that it gets repetitive, but you need SOME narration.

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Just try to imagine the world and situation they’re in and how they’d react to it. However, don’t just do it through stating emotions, try to do it through their actions.

Any more tips, @Writers?

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Honestly, when I write emotional scenes, I picture myself as them. For example, I just wrote a scene where Amber(MC) was comforting her friend Max. He was crying because he was talking about his dead sister. To make the sense realistic, I made sure to add words like cried, screamed, choked, sobbed etc since I was writing a physical story. If you are writing an Episode story FOCUS HEAVLY ON DIALOGUE! I find dialogue is most important in scenes like this!

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I have been praised for writing (a few) emotional scenes and, if I were to give advice on them, I’d say it boils down to a few things:

  1. One of the biggest misconceptions is that writing an emotional scene is about getting a specific emotion out of a reader: You want to make them sad, happy, unsettled, angry, unsettled, relieved, etc. This is a dead end. Emotional scenes are about what your characters feel; the audience merely reacts to their feelings.
  2. To write a good emotional scene, you need to show on your characters’ experience. The best way to do it is to describe what your characters are going through - how they feel, what evokes these feelings, what they do about it. If you can describe it well enough, your readers will get emotionally invested in the scene.
  3. Your readers will have different reactions to an emotional scene. It all depends on their personal experience. Don’t try to force a specific feeling out of them - it’ll only make them angry.
  4. Don’t judge or interpret, just show. Don’t present the situation as right or wrong, good or bad, sad or happy, or anything else. That’s for your readers to judge; don’t take that freedom from them. Your characters are, of course, allowed to judge the situation and other people, since they’re a part of it. However, make sure to present their judgement instead of your own.
  5. Emotions are actually something of a chain of cause and effect. We don’t get emotional for no reason, so unless your character’s emotions are affected by their physiology you should show what get the emotional reaction out of them. These circumstances can be even more important than the feelings themselves, as they’re much more relatable than bare emotions.
  6. Dialogue is not a bad thing. Talking lets the characters express their emotions, which in turn affects (and fuels) the feelings of everyone involved. In a group emotional scene, expression is often your way to go.

Last but not least: To write an emotional scene, you have to be comfortable with your emotions. This is especially true for emotions you’re writing about, but not only. This is, unfortunately, a very personal thing: I find that emotionally repressed people have a lot of trouble handling intense feelings, which makes writing (and sometimes even reading) emotional prose very challenging.

(This is the main reason why I haven’t been writing my main project, actually. It’s a very emotional piece and, over the last few years, I’ve been thrown into an emotional turmoil that made me very repressed. I know that I wouldn’t be able to follow it up on the same level as before, which is… Kind of the whole point of that series :frowning: )

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