Creating and Intensifying Emotion

Creating and intensifying emotion in a fictional scene can be done by introducing action, tools, point of view (POV), word choices, atmosphere , complications, and disaster.

Remember each scene needs to have a goal, motivation, internal conflict, external conflict, and end in disaster.

BARE BONES EXAMPLE: Similar to a first draft.

He walked down the alley. As he approached the girl he followed, he grabbed her and bit her neck. She tasted badly, and he pulled back. He shoved her into the light. She was the wrong girl, but he was hungry.

Now, add layers to the scene.

  1. Set the scene with action.
  2. Make the POV character desperate and LIKEABLE, even if he’s the villain.
  3. Give him a tool (doesn’t have to be an object)
  4. Name the POV character and have him meld with this tool.
  5. Add complications and conflict
  6. End with a twist and disaster

EXAMPLE: (Remember order: Visceral Response, Physical Response, Internal Dialogue (deep third), and then Speech.

Storm clouds blanketed the moonless night as he slithered against the alley’s brick wall. With the glow of the porch lights staggered, he darted from shadow to shadow with each gust of wind. Like a ghost, he inched closer to the woman he wanted.

His retracted incisors ached with desire to plunge into her milky flesh. She was the only woman on earth that satisfied his desperate thirst. She was the only woman who could save him from losing his humanity, but he’d waited too long to feed.

His vampire nature owned him.

Her floral scent coiled around him. She was close. A step away.

Like thunder, her heart pounded in his ears.

Sweat flushed over his body in a sickening rush of orgasmic weakness.

Sampson’s incisors pierced his gums as they lengthened, lubricating in his saliva, and he winced from pain.

He would taste her. Tonight.

Surging forward, his hand slipped over her mouth, trapping her scream. With lightning precision, he stabbed through her supple skin straight into her jugular. Blood roared into his mouth like a waterfall, but tonic-bitterness filled his throat.

He reeled back, but then forced her thrashing body into the threshold’s orange glow. Her wide eyes were brown, not blue, and frozen on him. Her punctured skin cried crimson tears from the holes he’d placed.

She wasn’t just the wrong girl, she was the police chief’s daughter, but he was starving.

(If this story were to continue, and the victim live, we might make the victim a cop herself who goes after her attacker or we can have her father avenge his daughter.  We also might have the girl he’s actually hunting witness his attack, which explains why he can smell and hear her vitals. Maybe his girl (heroine) is a vampire hunter (more conflict) hunting or protecting him (hero).)

Reread the sample and notice the following:

  1. Goal: He wanted a certain woman.
  2. Motivation: He’s starving. (Desire to be human)
  3. Internal Conflict: She makes him feel weak. He fears losing his humanity.
  4. External Conflict: Porch lighting. He can only move with gust of wind, she’s screaming and thrashing.
  5. Disaster: She’s the wrong girl, but he was starving.
  6. Sequel could be his girl (love interest-heroine) reacting to his inhumanity, questioning her connection to him (ultimate hero, not villan), and making a decision to flee from him.

 Also notice:

  1. Word choices for Samson: Slithered, darted, sexual tags, stabbed, roared.
  2. Word choices for the woman he thinks he’s following: Milky flesh, floral, supple
  3. The atmosphere is dark and stormy.
  4. Notice his weakness to her is visceral.
  5. Tighten their connection: she is the only woman on earth who can save him from losing his humanity.
  6. Heighten tension by restating his goal using short sentences or commands. Would taste her. Tonight.
  7. Add tools: His incisors
  8. Add complications:
  • He has to wait until the wind blows to move from shadow to shadow.
  • Victim screams.
  • Victim thrashes. 
  • She tastes wrong.
      9.   Disaster:
  • He exposes himself to her to see who she is.
  • She’s the police chief’s daughter.
  • He’s starving and attacks her anyway.

September’s Topic:  Five Act Structure demystified.

Happy Writing, Cyndi Faria

6 thoughts on “Creating and Intensifying Emotion

    • Thanks for the comment, Annemarie. Right now I’m focusing on my Light Keeper Series. What really excites me is the seed I’ve planted in you! Give your readers a surprise at each scene, something unexpected. Now that’s good fantasy! Cyndi

  1. Cyndi, really good stuff here! You make it very simple and effective. I want start tearing all my scenes apart with this template. Like Virna, I want to know where this story goes! – Sam

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