Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 3 months ago

How to better write emotions?

Hello, fellow writers! I’m a newb, obviously, and I’ve realized that I have trouble writing/describing how the character feels. I always get stuck in these long, stupid sentences about how the characters are feeling. I’ll give you an actual example from one of the story’s I’m writing(try not to cringe to hard): 

“I regretted going to work that day, my pain was still to raw and I was still fighting back tears the whole time. I don’t think I'd ever had so many emotions inside me at once. When I'd first found out I was hurt and confused, but the more time I had to think about it the angrier I got. And seeing her made my chest hurt. I took another sip of the ale in front of me, trying to numb the pain. It was working so far.”


“My magic died, along with my soul. Everywhere my magic was, felt empty, cold. The pit in my chest was no longer full of the fiery magic that I'd grown used to. My mind felt blank, all I could see was Karreem’s face, with his unnatural grin, and the wound in his neck that was pouring blood like a bucket with a gash in it. He was still alive, I knew that, but I wouldn’t be able to save him.  

Every part of felt numb, and I couldn’t bring myself to care as Karreem knocked me over. Hovering over me with an evil sneer, blood staining his teeth and his already dirty shirt. I looked into his grey eyes, and saw no light, he couldn’t be dead. There was still time.“

If you have any tips for an amateur then please tell me!


If you nee context to the examples so you can better help me, just ask!! :))

Update 2:

Also sorry for the bad grammar in the examples, there drafts. Lol

6 Answers

  • 3 months ago

    You've been handed a lot of flak, and all of it is deserved, but all the same, these samples of your writing are by no means the worst I've seen posted here. Don't take offence and turn your back on us too fast.

    Clearly you're young, and haven't done a lot of reading. Time will take care of both those handicaps, as long as you DO actually read more, I mean a LOT more.

    Nobody learns to write from 'tips'. You learn to write from reading, living, noticing, reading more, looking at how the authors you admire produce their own effects, thinking how you could adapt those ways into your own writing until you achieve your own style.

    I'm tempted to rip your extracts apart and force your grammatical mistakes down your throat, but I won't. But you MUST learn the difference between 'to' and 'too', and among 'there', 'their' and 'they're'. Please don't tell me 'Oh I know the difference perfectly well, I just didn't have time to check'. Never, ever post a piece of work anywhere that you haven't checked through with care and attention, or you'll find everyone's focusing on your mistakes rather than the actual writing. There is no excuse for posting work at ANY stage, draft or not, that isn't as good as you can possibly make it at that time.

    Lecture over. Go and read. And read some more. And some more. And more. And from as wide a range of genres as you can handle.

    Then write us another piece, go over it with a fine-tooth comb, and ask us again.

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  • Speed
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    Nope. Nope-nope-nope-nope-nope. You do *not* ask for feedback on work that you know you could improve but haven't yet, whether it's your first draft or the tenth. I rolled my eyes at the first gross mistake and stopped reading at the second, Lincoln.

    Which is a shame, because your concern is something I know how to do. But the reply you gave one of the board regulars--someone who knows their stuff--means the other regulars aren't likely to help you now.

    A draft at this level of quality is for your eyes only, and when someone tells you what its failings are and you cop an attitude? I'm done here. We all are.

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  • Elaine
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    Get a thesaurus for starters.  You have piled description on description which overwhelms the reader who then stops reading.  Think about the common association with words. As an example is it necessary to say "evil sneer" when sneer itself is not associated with good? 

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  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    It's clear that you don't understand the basic mechanics of forming sentences and building paragraphs. Your sentences are weak and unfocused. Pieces of information that are related to one another can be joined together, but pieces of information that aren't related ought to be separated. That's something you really need to work on. And whether you're new to writing fiction or have been doing it for half a lifetime, all native speakers of English should demonstrate a command of language that exceeds what you've displayed here. Your spelling, grammar, and usage are appalling. You came here to ask for advice, yet you couldn't be arsed to take the time to proofread this before you posted it. Why should I devote time to outlining the specifics of how you might improve when it's obvious that you can't be bothered to take a few seconds to check to see that your question is worded properly? 

    Perhaps you might improve with time, but only if you read a lot of well written books and continue to practice writing all the time. And even then, you've got to read analytically and be active - you can't just pass your eyes over the page. And you're going to need to set writing goals and strive for improvement. You seem to be under the mistaken belief that people who lack knowledge and experience can make up for that by following some pro tip that you're hoping to find. Plenty of people get their brand new guitar home from the music shop and are quite disillusioned a week later to learn that there's more to it than they first suspected. A week passes and they're wondering why they don't sound like Hendrix. You say you want to write, but you're looking for shortcuts. You shouldn't be showing the dreck you're writing now to anybody. Are you proud of it? Did you really put a lot of hard work into it? Did you make sure to polish it up before making it available to other people? 

    No. You didn't do any of those things. You just threw it together and fired it off. You didn't proofread it, you don't have any idea what the steps in the writing process are, and you don't understand that ALL writers, either amateurs or professionals, make it a rule to refine pieces - even short excerpts, before showing them to other people. Again, you might be thinking "What did I do that was so wrong?" Well, I've already explained that. And if you want constructive criticism that's more in depth then you ought to do more than the bare minimum. I'm not about to go to the trouble when you couldn't even explain the differences in usage between "there", "their", and "they're", something most native speakers have worked out by the time THEY'RE ten years old. 

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    • Cogito
      Lv 7
      3 months agoReport

      Sorry, Lincoln, but Andrew is right. Your English is really poor and shows that you're not ready to write a story yet. Don't worry about the finer points, like describing emotions, until you've studied the English language and how to use it. I suggest that you read some really good novels as well.

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  • Amber
    Lv 5
    3 months ago

    I see where you're going wrong for me, anyway.

    You're going on so long that it just becomes irritating and too angsty. Nearly half a page of melodrama. Less is more.

    Plus you're telling us rather than showing us. It's not always the pain, but the symptoms of the pain. We all have our own way of handling personal pain. 

    I also get the feeling you're quite young, maybe fourteen? You're likely writing about emotions you've never truly felt. You've never truly experienced grief and while it is different for everyone your depiction of it doesn't come across as authentic. 

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  • Anonymous
    3 months ago

    Try applying a bit of the “show, don’t tell” rule. Basically all you’re doing is telling the reader what the character is thinking - that does not draw a reader in.  There are a ton of articles with examples of “show don’t tell” on the internet - try looking some up.

    For example you can describe the setting to reflect the mood and draw a picture of how the character is perceiving and interacting with the environment instead of just telling us that he regretted going to work.  

    Describe actions not feelings - how did those feelings make him behave.  

    Have the sentence structure reflect the emotion - like short choppy sentences to reflect anger.

    Use dialogue to reflect the character and feelings.

    Get specific and detailed.  Phrases like “I had so many emotions inside me” is not specific (along with being cliche).  What the heck is “fiery magic”?  That means nothing - creates no image.  Exactly what does an “unnatural grin” look like?

    There are whole bunch of other “show don’t tell” tips online that will help you improve your writing.

    Good luck.

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