We all know, the greater the emotion, the more we feel alive. It may start deep down, but as the emotion builds, it’s near impossible to ignore. I chose the emotion fear because it’s the easiest to relate to. Everyone has been afraid at least once.
The writer’s job is to tell a story and to evoke emotion. If done just right, the story becomes larger than life and the reader has a great experience. Amazingly enough, some readers, me, want to be frightened. Even if it’s from the safety of their bed. They read horrors and hear every bump in the night. hehehe
Using fear, let’s open a window
Think back to the worst thing that ever happened to you. Imagine it and let that moment become intense. If you’re having trouble, try one of these examples:
- you’re in a dark room and something uninvited is there with you
- you wake up trapped in a coffin
- alone in the wilderness and you’re being stalked by a hungry animal
- you realize you’ve infected your family with a deadly disease
- your doctor tells you, you’re going insane
After a moment or two, offer yourself a possible escape. Hold on to those feelings and align them with what your character faces when their story begins and their stakes if they fail.
Stakes and Suspense
Anyone can build suspends as long as they understand where the character’s fear originates and then let it increase a degree at a time. The more they hope for success; the more they may lose. If they have a natural deadline, the more they’ll push. The more they push; the more likely they’ll make a mistake and lose ground, increasing the stakes.
Do you have other techniques to enhance emotion and raise the stakes?