Jami Gold is one of my favorite bloggers, and posts like this--How to Strengthen Emotions in Our Writing--are why.
I encourage you to read Jami's entire post, but here's the bit (see below) that resonated with me. I've been working on punching up the emotion in my writing; I printed off these tips and hung them on my wall, above my writing desk.
The Causes of Unemotional Writing & How To Correct Them
The following list is a quotation from Jami Gold's article, How To Strengthen Emotions in Our Writing.
Great list! Any discussion of how to evoke emotion can be augmented by Dwight V. Swain's discussion of the subject. I touch on this in my own article: How To Create Characters That Evoke Emotion.
Lack of response to a stimulus
If characters don’t react when something happens in the story, readers will see a “robot” instead of a character.
Misplaced response to a stimulus
If characters react before readers know the stimulus, the reaction won’t resonate as strongly.
Weak response to a stimulus
If characters seem underwhelmed, readers—unless they have reason to doubt the character—will assume the character knows the situation isn’t a big deal and will tone down their reaction.
Clichéd response to a stimulus
If characters react in a clichéd way, readers may skim over the response, lessening its impact.
Chopped/compressed response to a stimulus
If characters’ reactions feel cut off or compressed, readers won’t feel the full emphasis of the stimulus.
Superficial response to a stimulus
If characters react with only a physical or an internal or a mental response (rather than a combination of responses) to a major stimulus, the reaction can feel superficial.
Inappropriate response to a stimulus
If characters react wildly different from what readers expect (outside of societal norms or out-of-character) with no explanation, readers can distance themselves from the character because they no longer relate to them.
Melodramatic response to a stimulus
If characters overreact to a stimulus, readers can distance themselves from the story due to a lack of believability.
I hope you have a great writing day. Remember, it doesn't matter if you think you're writing crap: write!
Photo credit: "Love grows in hearts, not uteruses" by Ansel Edwards under Creative Commons Attribution.