Feel emotions

Fri, Feb 2 2018 01:23pm GMT 1
292 Posts
I need help I’m writing a scene where two of my characters have been murdered and their bodies are discovered by their friends. It’s the most emotional part of my book ,but every time I write it it’s flat.https://www.livewritethrive.com/2015/06/24/how-fiction-writers-can-show-emotions-in-their-characters-in-effective-ways/ This article covers what I’m struggling with. My work is like the first example and every time I try to correct it it ends up the same can any one help me?

They stood on the edge of the end of the road and looked through the gaps of the thin trees ,down the slope to the patch of earth far down below,just past the the mud bank. Hannah and the others saw what looked like two naked bodies lying on their backs. For a moment she forgot about her friends beside her.
She couldn’t see their faces but she didn’t have to.
It’s them.
No one moved. They all just stared for awhile.

They ran down over to then down the stone steps that where hidden by the trunks of trees and shrubbery.

They edged closer.

Rich and Zack.

Rich had his thick rimmed glasses on,his face turned to the side,his wrists had red finger tip marks on them. He hadn’t gone down without a fight. The red mark left by the ligature across his neck stood out on his pale skin.

Zack lie a short distance from Rich ,face up,his eyes closed. There were finger tip marks on his neck.

Sat, Feb 3 2018 08:25am GMT 2
2403 Posts

Not one of my strong points, Katie, but I'll give it go...

Working on the assumption that the boys have gone missing and the girls are looking for them, why not lead up to the finding of the bodies? Don't say it outright. Suggest something out of place through the trees (they are quite far away, aren't they?) A flash of something. Build up the tension. Perhaps get deeper into Hannah's head? What, for instance, does she think she may have seen? And would her initial thought be that the boys were dead? Why not injured? Unconscious?

What about the physical reactions of the girls? Does anyone scream? Grab the arm of the girl beside them? Point? Perhaps mention how it affected Hannah - heart hammering/butterflies in her stomach/trembling/the feeling that she can't breathe?

And when they see that it's the boys, would they instantly notice the ligature marks etc? Or be so overcome with shock and grief that they couldn't see through the tears? Might they even wonder if they were in danger? That whoever had done this might still be in the vicinity? What about calling for help? Or hating that the boys were lying naked and wanting to cover them up?

Just a few initial thoughts. Does any of that help?

Sat, Feb 3 2018 02:08pm GMT 3
1345 Posts
Hi Katie
For me this felt very distant, as if someone was reporting it to me and I think it's that that's stops it having an emotional impact. I would suggest trying to get rid of all those filtering words like look, saw, stood, stared, felt and try and move us closer into Hannah's head. Try to give us her thoughts directly. Something like:
Oh God. Bodies. It's them. Has to be...
Does that make sense. Try and imagine what your characters would be thinking and feeling and then try to make the reader experience that, rather than telling us about it.
You might find fragmented sentences useful here too. That would reflect everyone's shock.
Hope some of that's helpful.
Sat, Feb 3 2018 06:07pm GMT 4
292 Posts
Thank you. This is really helpful. I get so annoyed with myself because I get rid of one bad habit only to develop another! I used to over describe what my characters looked like,but now I tend not to do that. I now feel as though I’ve become more wooden with my writing. Hopefully I can improve!
Sun, Feb 4 2018 09:08am GMT 5
73 Posts

I agree with both of the above, it feels a bit reported. I do think with a bit of shuffling it could be made into something more emotionally evoking though.

I think your use of the word 'the' in the first paragraph breaks the flow somewhat and I agree that the reveal could be much more impactful.

Maybe something like this?...

They were standing at the very end of the road, thin trees restricting their view, but not enough to fully conceal it from them. On a patch of earth far below, just past the mudbank, there was a glimpse of bare flesh, unmoving. It was the stillness that unsettled them.

Hannah, with no mind for the friends she was with, ran down the stone steps, dodging tree roots that threatened to trip her. She did not have time for caution.

She paused as she reached the bottom, unsure whether she had the stomach to go through with it. The others caught up and encouraged her on. Her heart was racing, tears already streaming down her face, she knew what was coming.

She edged closer to the bushes. Her friends followed. Holding her breath, she pulled back a branch, revealing the scene she had feared. A wave of nausea crashed into her and it took all she had to stop herself from vomiting. They were dead, Rich and Zack were dead.

My version has it's own pitfalls I'm sure, but I hope it helps to give you some ideas. This is how I would write it, but that definitely doesn't make it correct. I am a novice after all! :-)

Sun, Feb 4 2018 07:17pm GMT 6
292 Posts
May I use the first line? That’s how I wanted to word it. I really like it . Thank you everyone who replied .
Sun, Feb 4 2018 07:29pm GMT 7
73 Posts
You can use as much or as little as you like, it's all just a rehash of the scene you created anyway Smile happy it helped.

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