Monday, August 16, 2010

Are You Feelin' Me: Part Two by Ocieanna Fleiss

Raise your hand if you're getting a lot out of Ocieanna's posts! I am. We McCritters always do. *grin* So, as promised, here's the second installment of her article on eliciting an emotional response from your readers. Enjoy!

Are You Feelin' Me
Fire Up Emotions for Stronger Stories (Part Two)
by Ocieanna Fleiss

Know Your Characters

Another movie that exemplifies good use of emotions is Sense and Sensibility. Throughout the film, we understand the glaring difference between the two heroines. When stoic Eleanor discovers her beloved is engaged to another, she hides her feelings behind a mask of stalwart cheerfulness. When her ultra-emotional sister is jilted, on the other hand, she falls apart in fits of tears and despair. The screenwriter knew how these two would react to similar situations. How well do you know your characters?

Takeaway: Look around to uncover different ways folks operate. Watch how your spouse responds to the Sunday paper getting soggy, or how the barista handles a belligerent customer who ordered soy, not 2%—and take notes.


You’ve seen the movie Titanic? Boy meets girl, ship meets iceberg, and …well, you know the rest. Trauma results in drama—and we’re hooked. Why? How a character reacts to disaster reveals truth about him. For instance, Tricia Goyer in her World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, shoves her main character Mary into just such a harrowing situation. A newspaper reporter, Mary’s feisty, self-sufficient attitude lands her in a fighter plane, exhilarated to get a story. But when the plane hits danger deep within enemy territory, Mary’s insecurities and fears surface. We experience a side of Mary we would’ve never seen otherwise. 1

Takeaway: Don’t be nice to your characters. Make them struggle—and emotion will flow naturally.

It’s not easy to develop authentic emotional tension in our fiction, but it’s worth the effort. And who knows? The next time you watch a movie, you may even glean a tip or two to make it easier.


1. Goyer, Tricia. Arms of Deliverance: A Story of Promise. (Moody Publishers: Chicago, July 2006).


Ocieanna Fleiss has cowritten two novels with Tricia Goyer—both for Summerside press. The most recent, Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington, released July, 2010. Ocieanna has also written several articles for national publications and a bi-monthy column for Northwest Christian Writers Association. Homeschool mom of four little ones, she, along with her husband, stay busy at her home in the Seattle area.


Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington released in July, 2010.

The Second World War has stolen Rosalie's fiancé from her. But rather than wallow, Rosalie throws herself into her work at the Boeing plant in Victory Heights, shooting rivets into the B-17 bombers that will destroy the enemy. A local reporter dubs her Seattle's Own Rosie the Riveter, and her story lends inspiration to women across the country. While Rosalie's strong arms can bear the weight of this new responsibility, her heart cannot handle the intense feelings that begin to surface for Kenny, the handsome reporter. Fear of a second heartbreak is a powerful opponent - but will it claim victory over love?

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