Don’t forget the emotion

Sometimes a scene will seem flat. It might be because you need to add more emotion to the scene. The richness of physical description, character actions, dialogue, thoughts.

In his book, Techniques of the Selling Writer, the very first thing Dwight Swain talks about is emotion, because it’s one of the important aspects of fiction writing.

No matter if you write action, women’s fiction, suspense, or chick lit, emotion is the key factor in any scene. Whether it’s your hero’s dogged determination and rush of adrenaline as he runs from an exploding oil refinery, or it’s your heroine’s angst and frustration at her matchmaking, meddling mother. Emotion is what drives the character, and rivets the reader to the action or drama on the page.

When you read your scene, what emotions do you feel? What emotions do you want to feel? Focus on the emotion and write it—write what matters to you, what you want the reader to care about. Ramp up the emotion in your scene to give it depth and vitality.