Following the Florida Writers Conference last October, I delved into Karl Iglesias's book for screenwriters Writing for Emotional Impact. Although I am not presently interested in writing screenplays, this book has much to offer writers of fiction. I am working my way through this book for the second time and have even taken some notes which I refer to when embarking on revisions. Iglesias's examples from movies are entertaining and help clarify how the writer keeps the reader engaged.
One of the major points in Writing for Emotional Impact is that it is the anticipation of an established goal that causes the forward movement in a story, not action or dialogue. Iglesias asks the writer to consider what she wants the reader (viewer) to feel. The emotion of a character is the catalyst for the emotion in the reader. The reader wants to"feel excitement and fascination at the uniqueness of the conflict, with a pinch of familiarity." Plot (a series of events) is designed to create anticipation in the form of curiosity, suspense, tension, hope, and worry. Of course, the reader needs to feel empathy for a character, perhaps even compassion, to be fully engaged in a story. Revealing familiar emotions in a character heightens the reader's ability to relate to a character and therefore care about what happens to him.
In a few weeks I'll be attending another writers conference: the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in Miami. I've attended this conference before and look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new friends. My anticipation grows with all the elements of an engaging story. I am curious about the speakers and their presentations, full of tension and hope at my critique interview with a top literary agent. And worry? Yes, some, but greatly tempered by the welcoming encouragement I have experienced before when attending SCBWI functions. Get ready, Miami. I'm on my way!
Author of Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing December 2014:
Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel
Jeremiah needs a little help and he gets it with the sudden appearance of his guardian angel. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love
Jeremiah dodges a kiss from a princess and falls head over heels for a lost puppy. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Watch for these titles coming soon:
The Whispering Chimney
Eleven-year old Bethany finds a stone chimney and discovers a beautiful but terrifying past. (upper middle grade)
(Beyond the) Stone Eagle Gate
David, age fifteen, flees a false accusation and takes refuge in a haunted, abandoned mansion. (YA, historical fiction ghost story)
The Interplanetary Adventures of Yan Sunnara: Book I Rescue on Lato
Cultural scientist Yan Sunnara rescues an unusual child on the planet of Lato with the help of an exotic and beautiful Uvian archaeologist. (Adult, soft Science Fiction, Rescue on Lato is the first of a series of four novellas.)
Three teens are connected by a mysterious and sometimes frightening ability to cross over from one dimension here on earth to another. This YA novel placed in the top three in Florida Writers 2013 RPLA competition. Speculative Fiction.
Some Great MG and YA books
- Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Red Blood Road by Moira Young
- On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Printz 2012)
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Fire by Kristin Cashore