Condensed intro from a free booklet, Emotional Amplifiers, by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, 2012
A writer’s job is to create a meaningful emotional experience for readers. One way to do this is through their thoughts, body language, and visceral reactions. When readers are pulled in by emotional intensity, they can’t help but fall in love with, or hate our characters and their stories.
Emotion can be manipulated by internal and external stimuli—circumstances that amplify what a character is feeling. Hunger or extreme heat can increase strain and deplete the body to the point where goals seem insurmountable. Stress can unbalance the most stable of characters, opening them up to raw emotion, rash decisions and ultimately, mistakes that send them on a crash course with disaster.
Amplifiers also can evoke memories for readers because of their commonality. At some point, every reader has felt a burst of energy that propels them to tackle a task, or has experienced pain that sends a jarring throb through flesh and bone. Universal experiences like these help forge an empathetic link between reader and character.
Written thoughtfully, the difficulties that arise from an amplifier will trigger a stronger emotional reader response that feels both authentic and credible. Compromising your character’s physical and mental state also creates tension, planting doubt in the reader’s mind about the hero’s ability to succeed.
Just as characters show emotion uniquely, they should also respond in their own way to the different amplifiers. Discomfort and inconvenience can create a more poignant opportunity to show your character’s true feelings.
(Amplifiers Described: Addiction, Attraction, Boredom, Cold, Dehydration, Distraction, Exhaustion, Heat, Hunger, Illness, Inebriation, Lethargy, Pain, Relaxation, Stress)
Go to their website shown below and download a free copy.