Thursday, 3 April 2014

Writing - Emotional hooks

When we write we are obviously trying to engage with the reader on all sorts of levels but if we can generate tears -one of the most powerful reactions to emotional situations - we are doing well. Cessation is the sixth novel that I've written and two people have admitted to tears already. In a perverse way it has given me great satisfaction to have elicited that response and got me to thinking about how others achieve such success.
Now it could be that as I'm growing older I'm becoming softer but it is not unusual for me to be moved to tears these days but here are some examples of when that has occurred.

Harry Potter



Emma Watson as Hermione Granger

I know this is partly down to acting and the director but the concept was putt there by the author J K Rowling and occurs in the first five minutes of the film. Hermione uses her wand to wipe the memories of herself from her parents minds. Perhaps those of us who are parents may well react more strongly than people who have that pleasure to come.

Notting Hill

Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant

This is what I'd describe as a 'bog standard' happy ending. The two of them declare their love across a room crowded with reporters and it is handled very well. Sometimes this type of ending relies on the watcher having invested some concentration on the story to produce a soggy reaction and I can be quite unmoved in most instances but this film does the trick.

Schindler's List

Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley

This ending is in some ways like the one above but is in fact a great example of empathy centred on a true story. Once again the skill of the film makers mustn't be ignored but the situation is significant. The book is based on truth and encourages the reader to put him/herself in the shoes of the prisoner's, the soldiers and Oskar Schindler. It wouldn't be true to say that Schindler was a good person throughout but his final actions grew out of greed and a strong sense of self-preservation and were significant.

The last story has similarities with Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' where Scrooge turns from being a dour old miser and becomes the epitome of benevolence finally reconciling with his nephew and helping the Cratchits.
It is hoped that by producing these examples it will help fellow writers keep emotion on the agenda when they write and show some situations in which it can be developed.

God Bless