Writers Write is your one-stop writing resource. In this post, we talk about 7 ways to evoke the emotions you want from your readers.
How Do You Want Your Reader To Feel When The Story Ends?
Sometimes, when you’re stuck, it’s useful to think about what you want to achieve with your story. I don’t mean teaching the reader a lesson. I mean: How do you want the reader to feel after they’ve read the final page?
You may want them to feel optimistic, happy, hopeful, and determined, or you may want them to feel disillusioned, thoughtful, betrayed, and sad.
If you can figure this out, it can improve your plotting. Everything you include should lead to this in some way.
7 Ways To Evoke The Emotions You Want From Your Readers
- Set up your character. Always remember the emotion you want to create when you’re writing about him or her. Plan their path. Build their hopes and expectations so that you can either fulfil or dash them at the end. Use body language to show how the character changes.
- Foreshadow using symbols and scenery. I would suggest that you do this with an extremely light touch. When the story ends, the reader may not even realise that you’ve done it. [Read Wherever I Lay My Hat – How Setting Affects Your Characters]
- Plant seeds in the dialogue. Again, do this sparingly. A well-chosen word or phrase can echo across chapters and live on in the reader’s mind. A character may say something that seems innocuous, but has a great impact at a later date.
- Use evocative names. Choose names for characters and places that reflect the emotion. You could be obvious or subtle when you are doing this. You could also use this ironically. Create a wealthy character named Charity who does not believe in giving anything away. [Read 10 Things To Consider When Naming Characters]
- Use an unreliable narrator. Choose a viewpoint that keeps the feeling in focus or out of focus. Manipulate the reader with what you do and don’t tell them. An unreliable narrator could be a wonderful tool if you want the reader to feel surprised or betrayed at the end of the book.
- Set a deadline. Use suspense, tension, and conflict to keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat. A ticking clock forces the character to act and to change. [Read A Tense Situation – Five Tips To Help You Write A Gripping Read]
- Use the beginning. The first lines set the tone for your book. They allow readers to create a picture of the coming story in their minds. Your ending should echo the tone and the picture you painted. It may have changed obviously or subtly. Use words, moods, and senses to evoke the emotion you want to create. [Read How To Write A Beginning And An Ending That Readers Will Never Forget]
If you’re stuck, take a moment and ask the question. How do you want the reader to feel after they’ve read the final page? I hope it helps you move on.
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