The other day, I was watching a movie, and all I could think was the story didn’t earn emotions on the screen. It felt forced. I saw them setting up the blocks, predicted what would happen next, and felt rather disappointed when it did. Every genre has a general formula that if follows. You can’t have a mystery without a red herring or a contemporary romance without a hero/heroine. Regardless, readers and viewers expect some deviation. Writers can’t rely solely on tropes to set the mood throughout a story.
Emotional levels vary. When a character shoots straight from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, skipping all the steps in between, it may feel forced. For example, a character is cheerful one moment and the next instant angered. There are a number of phases in between. Until readers get to know a character’s personality, motivation, goals, etc. this sudden shift may feel jarring and fake.
There are a number of ways to move from one emotion to the other:
cheerful + overwhelmed + isolated + frustrated = angered
cheerful + embarrassed + confused = angered
cheerful + surprised + discouraged + inferior = angered
Once the reader is firmly grounded in the story and character, they’ll understand which emotional change a character is undergoing and it will feel logical and earned.
How about you? What tips do you have for earning a story? Do you have any examples of a story/movie that earns the story?
Thanks for stopping by. This blog wouldn’t be the same without your support.