Creating Character Emotions: Writing compelling, fresh approaches that express your characters' true feelings.
Most writing books require reading them from cover to cover, in order to glean the points the author is trying to make. But in Creating Character Emotions, after Hood's introductory pages on writing emotion, the reader can pick and choose the sections that apply to the current manuscript.
The remainder of the book is divided into 36 sections, each devoted to a specific emotion. The emotions are easy to find in alphabetical order, or the reader can glance at the table of contents.
Within each section, Hood describes the intricacies of the emotion, then gives both good and bad examples of writers describing that emotion. The chapters end with practical exercises that enable the reader to apply what was learned to the emotion being studied.
With short chapters of three to four pages, a reader might choose to spend ten minutes per day on this book, and finish it in five weeks. Alternatively, the reader may flip to the emotion they are trying to describe on their current page.
Why are emotions so difficult to describe without resorting to cliches? As Hood says in her opening chapter, "It always strikes me as funny that in our daily lives we pass through a whole spectrum of emotions and show them in many ways, some obvious and some subtle, yet in our fiction we often have trouble moving our characters through emotions effectively. I think of this as the curse of writing like a writer. Sometimes we get a tone or a voice in our head and we decide that is how good writers sound."
For more information about the author, a well-known novelist, check out Ann Hood's website.
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