Monday, August 1, 2011

The Emotional Color Wheel

According to Blake Snyder, who wrote SAVE THE CAT, you want your "audience" (i.e. readers) to laugh, to cry, to be frustrated, to be afraid, to feel regret and anger and ultimately, breathtaking TRIUMPH! *fist pump*

"We go to a movie (or read a book) to experience a 'dream state' where life and its attendant emotions are recreated in a safe environment." SPOT ON!





And if you don't believe him, he points to the comedy (yes, a comedy), Something About Mary, that works the audience emotionally. There are scenes of great fear, lust and intense longing in that movie. And it's a COMEDY!
So if you feel like your story is reading flat emotionally, he recommends fleshing out scenes using all the colors in the palette. Make a list of emotions and then think about which ones readers might experience in your book. Ask yourself: In what scene do I have frustration? How about fear, longing, etc. ?

By adding different emotional scenes to your book, your readers will have a much more rewarding experience, no?

***To Mr. Blake's point: one of my CP's said I was like a "therapist" for her characters, because I constantly asked how they were "feeling" in my side notes (hee hee, that cracked me up!).

And now, in my second read through of her book? She has blown me away. I'm much more emotionally invested in her characters because I feel deeply for them!

14 comments:

Christine Danek said...

Being an interior designer, I know color can set the mood. I love using color to express emotion. It is a great way to get the reader drawn in. Some of my favorite books have me 'feeling' for the character. Isn't that what we are all going for?
Great post!

Sarah said...

Hey, this is great! Funnily enough, I posted on emotions today, too. They're so central to human experience. They're what we want to evoke in our readers. So if our books are lacking in this area, if we're not showing (rather than telling) our characters' emotions, then the reader won't feel connected to them.

Jen Daiker said...

Playing therapist... that's so cute!!! It sounds to me like you could have yourself a little mini-business with the character healing process you have for one of your CP's... hehe I love it!!

I want to read this book. So many wonderful people (such as yourself) have said great things about it! I don't know why I don't own it yet, lol.

blueviolet said...

That makes complete sense, but those margin notes are funny!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

This is a great idea for me to keep in mind in the current round of revisions on my WIP. Thanks!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

*blushes*

One thing I love about his book is that he tells you to write on the index card how the character feels at the beginning of the scene and at the end. There is supposed to be a change in the emotional arc, even if it's just a slight change. Great advice!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Great post! Important to remember to milk the emotional stake in each event as much as we can!

storyqueen said...

I like thinking of emotions in terms of color...and hoping there is a rainbow of feeling at the end!

(have a character now who seems to want to cry a lot...Come on! Let's try a different emotion!)

Shelley

Maddy said...

Very interesting! I love seeing all the techniques writers use to a story to life!

JEM said...

Question for you: what did she add that helped you connect more with her characters? I like to know what people actually write that helps you connect emotionally!

Christina Lee said...

Hi Jem! You know it was more about slowing down the scene and letting the read in on the MC's interior thoughts and feelings in between the dialogue and action.

Say for example, the guy the MC had a crush on just told her he broke up with his girlfriend. Slow it down and have the MC process that to the reader (like an internal OMG! WHOA! What does this mean for me? for us? in thought or creative "showing") before carrying on with dialogue or the next action.

Make sense?

AudreyO said...

I love your post. I'm an avid reader and it's interesting how some authors allow you to be able to fully visualize their characters and other authors leave you wondering.

Little Ms J said...

What color is tired? :-)

Love this.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I LOVE the idea of using all the colors of emotions! I'm a very visual person, and so this totally works. Imma gonna use this now.