Sunday, July 14, 2013

/LoveHateAngerDevotion - AKA That Thing Called Emotion



The success of a book has a lot of contributing factors. A killer plot. Enticing characters. Cool settings. Unique idea… But one factor, in my opinion, anyway, stands out above the rest.

Emotion.

Anger, joy, sadness, hate—emotions are a large part of what makes people read. At least, that’s the case with me. I want to pick up a book and feel something. I want to fall in love. Be angry when the hero and heroine are thwarted. I want to Snoopy Dance when the bad get gets his due. Who wants to finish a story where you can’t connect with the characters? If I don’t feel some kind of emotion, it’s all over. 

Apathy is the death of a book

No truer words have ever been spoken. When the reader isn’t emotionally invested in what happens to the characters, the whole thing becomes pointless. How many times have you put down a book because you just don’t care? It's okay. We've all done it. I’m not just talking about love here, either. Hate is just as good, and sometimes, more powerful. When you're emotionally invested in a book, and you come across an uber-baddie, don't you worry what devious plot he has in store for the hero and heroine? Don’t you find yourself imagining ways to pick him off? 

(Wait—that’s just me? Um… Never mind then.)

This is a huge part of why I write in the young adult genre. The emotions are amped. Everything from a character's first love and heartbreak, to their struggle to find themselves in the world. So many firsts. So many passionate emotions. SO MANY FEELS!

And that's why we read. To feel. To connect. As long as readers feeling something, then I’ve done my job. From cheering your favorites on as they pursue their quest, to screaming in frustration when the bad guy gains the upper hand. A handful of tissues, or the urge to yell at the page. If you walk away feeling, then I’m a happy puppy.

What about you guys? Is there a particular book or fictional character that has evoked a strong emotion?

4 comments:

Deborah McKnight said...

I agree. If I can't connect to the characters I'm reading about then reading becomes a job...one that I don't enjoy. It is the emotion displayed by the character that drives the story for me.

Lisa Tapp said...

I agree. It is the emotion that pulls me into a book. But the emotion has to feel real. It has to have a solid motivation.

Kristin Lenz said...

So true. I've kept going in a book out of mystery, curiosity, but I'll eventually give it up if I don't really care about the characters.

Kurt Hampe said...

Terry Pratchett's Night Watch was one that I didn't want to put down because he built such a convincing world in crisis. I wanted to know what would happen. Most of his work is not shelved in YA, but for me Pratchett's writing has a youthful feel.

I have put books down because the logic didn't hold up for me, so I wasn't willing to believe in the character's emotional motivation.