E.M. Forster said “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted.” Fiction can be defined as the process of connecting the prose and the passion for th purpose of creating a memorable story.
It is said that the heart is the seat of the emotions, and fiction is all about emotion. Emotion is a state of mind accompanied by physical responses. It is this combination of the mental and the physical in fiction that makes for a powerful story.
So how does an author best combine the mental and the physical to create a powerful story? Here are a few tips that you may find helpful:
- Put yourself not only into the mind of your character, but into her heart as well. Ask yourself not only what you would do in her situation, but also how you would feel. If you have never been in your protagonist’s situation, recall a situation in which you experienced the same emotion. For example, you may not have experienced the fear of being caught in a bombing raid, but you have experienced strong fear.
- Choose verbs that convey powerful emotion. Verbs like shuddered, wailed, and exploded convey physical expressions of intense emotion as well as mental states of mind. Remember: your goal in fiction is not to appeal to the intellect; it is to appeal to the emotions.
- Use setting to intensify the emotional impact of your story. By setting I mean the entire physical environment that supports your protagonist. This includes sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Describe sounds and smells that intensify your protagonist’s emotions. For example, when she is facing danger, let her fear be reflected in the sharpness of something she touches or the shrillness of something she hears.
Prose without passion is just prose. But prose combined with passion results in a story that will transform your reader and leave your words echoing in her heart.
Copyright 2014 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All rights reserved.