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How to Write Stories that Sell p2

Edward S. Fox said that stories are all about emotion…

Mr Fox wrote: The chief purpose of fiction is to arouse emotions in the reader. From the first to the last page, that is your whole reason for writing. Whereas the article writer appeals to the intellect, the fiction writer appeals to the emotions. He tries every trick in the book to arouse those emotions to the highest pitch. Without emotion a story is a dull and flat and uninteresting thing. This cannot be stressed too strongly…

He says: What are emotions? Intense emotions are love, hate, grief, anger, despair, fear, etc. They are basic and fundamental to life itself. They are life and nearly everyone has experienced one or all at some time or another. Less intense emotions are feelings of suspense, sadness, contentment, admiration, pleasure, etc…If the reader’s emotions are aroused sufficiently, he will live the story with the characters. If a writer can do that, he has a sure sale for a story. He has fulfilled his job as a writer.

You could arouse the reader’s emotions directly, e.g. you could arouse a feeling of liking a character, or disliking another one. This could be done through the description of the character e.g. her friendly eyes; or his or her rude conversation.

And his actions could lead to emotions e.g. kicking a dog leads to a reader’s disgust.

And sensory descriptions can arouse feelings in the reader, eg. the sound of his boots, the stink of his breath.

This helped create a mood in a scene, too, e.g. of gaiety or grimness.

He says the writer can also create emotion in the reader indirectly. This is through a character’s reactions. He gives an example from another story where a husband has asked for a divorce:

For the past minute she had been too shocked to say a word. To think, even. To do anything but sit and stare at him in dismay. It can’t be happening!..

He says: Through her reactions the reader experiences the same emotions that she does, though to a lesser degree.

He also said to understate the emotions when describing them. If it’s overdone, it becomes melodramatic and even laughable.

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