Keeping the Middle Moving––Part V

Fear is a great tool to provide inner conflict for characters. Keeping the middle of your story moving requires all kinds of different ways to spur conflict. But not all conflict is external. The characters should go through inner turmoil. Though we should not live in fear, our characters should. Click to Tweet #keepmiddlemoving #amwriting

Fear. What is your POV character most afraid of in this coming scene? He or she has already decided what they want to try next. Fear is the essence of scenes. Is the fear a cold sweat? Or worry? Is there basis for the fear?

Emotion. Engage your readers by detailing the fear, the emotion of it all in your scenes. What does the character think might happen that could be disastrous for them? Lay their feelings out there, especially in reflective passages.

Here are five things to consider in your scenes to bring fear and emotion into them.

  1. List all the elements that the character is worried about.
  2. List life issues the character may have (are they afraid of death? Dismemberment? Being alone or dying alone? Being unloved?)
  3. Weave those into a long section where the character is observing a setting that does double duty (if they’re sad, is it raining. Is it foggy if things are unclear? Etc.)
  4. Revise this section by putting in all the emotion you can.
  5. Edit it down to get just the tone you want.

Readers respond to raw emotion from the character. They’ll identify with the character even if they’ve not experienced the emotion in that particular way. When the character experiences an internal imbalance as a result of his or her actions––in particular when they expect change and it doesn’t happen the way they thought, they’re frustrated. That’s an emotion you can use.

Remember also, that fiction isn’t real life. It’s a stylized version of reality to maximize emotional effect. Readers want to vicariously live the story and be involved. It’s why they read. Use emotion effectively in the middle––to keep it moving. Click to Tweet #amwriting #keepmiddlemoving

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