All About Emotion by Kathryn L. James

Have you ever read a book that stayed with you? One that you could read several times over, and come back and re-read the entire book? Or just maybe certain scenes over and over again? There are some books either on my shelf in paperback/hardcover, Kindle, or Nook that pulled me deep inside them.

But why? What was so special about them?

For me, it’s all about the emotions. The way the characters connected me to the story. I absolutely love angst, the roller-coaster of ups and downs with a happily ever after. Sometimes it’s the emotion of surprising twists that come out of nowhere, leaving me with Oh. Em. Gee., mouth gaping, can’t catch my breath readings. It doesn’t have to be sad or an angry scene, it can be something happy. Emotion drives the attachment!


Grieving woman at cemetery in autumn

Well written conflict makes memorable moments, characters, and plots. However, writing them can be a challenge. I’ve struggled with heavy scenes, wondering if my reader will be deeply engaged or have a little eye rolling trying to get through yet another ‘cheesy-part’. And then there’s the fear of writing a too melodramatic a/k/a overkill scene.

For me, when I’m about to write ‘that one part’, I give it several minutes of thought before attempting to type out the words. If I feel connected, then I’m hopeful my reader will be just as connected. If I’ve written a scene that should be gripping, but isn’t…it’s time to edit, until I get it right.

Another useful tool is music. I have several songs on my playlist to help me engage with my characters and the plot. If I’m having writer’s block, or simply having trouble getting the flow, I stop and listen to several songs before trying to tweak the scene again. This process can often takes some time, several edits, with multiple breaks by walking away from it all.


If you are a writer, how do you handle writing angst, sympathy, and empathy? Do you have trouble writing them?
If you are a reader, what do you love, like, or dislike about these books or scenes that stay with you?

Readers and writers, please share your tips…what you love…what stayed with you.

Until Next time,
Kathryn L. James (KJ)


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