Revising for More Emotion

All writers are different, but keep in mind that first drafts are your opportunity to explore your emotions about your novel. That's why revisions and later drafts are a great time to fine tune and emphasize the emotions within! These are our 9 tips on how to revise for more emotion:

Tip 1: While revising, keep in mind not just what your characters are feeling, but also what you want the reader to feel. Your characters might feel happy, but you might want your reader to feel suspicious.

Tip 2: Vary the emotions! If you have one sad thing happen after another, it doesn't make your book feel more sad. Instead, the sadness loses its impact and the readers are likely to feel less, not more.

Tip 3: Propel the plot with emotional reactions. Yes, your character could go on the quest because it's the logical thing to do, but readers will feel more sympathy if he goes on the quest for petty vengeance.

Tip 4: Narrow your focus. If you want to convey that a garden is calming, don't try to describe the entire thing. Pick one thing (such as sound!) and embrace the soothing silence, the scattered bird chirps and slight rustling of leaves.

Tip 5: Set aside logic. Not forever! But punch up a scene with immediate emotions. Your character can rationalize what's going on later when things are less emotional.

Tip 6: Let emotion guide the description. We don't want to know what things look like, we also want to know how your character feels about them.

Tip 7: While revising, find places where you've "told" your readers about an emotion and figure out how to "show it" instead. This is a place where "show, don't tell" is incredibly effective.

Tip 8: Scrutinize your word choice. If you want to show that your character is angry, don't say "He bonked his fist against the table and galloped out of the room."

Tip 9: Get personal! Your character might feel happy that the love interest prepared a surprise dinner, but we'll be thrilled when we realize the love interest remembered that your character hates tomatoes from the tiny mention several chapters ago.

It can be tricky to balance all of these feelings (yours, your characters', and your readers') by yourself, so don't hesitate to find a second opinion! Book Light Editorial can help you figure out if you're making that emotional connection with your readers. Check out our services page if you're interested in connecting with us.

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