Monday, June 21, 2010

Bring Your Emotions to Your Reading and Writing

What kind of emotion does this cover show? 
Stars in the Night by Cara C. Putman

Let's do a little exercise. I like making lists. List your favorite fiction stories. For our purposes here try listing the top 3 books you've read so far this year. Next to the title, write down the genre. Then, brainstorm about it. What did you like about the book? The main character? The theme?Write down the emotions you felt as you read the book? Happy? Sadness? Anger? Fear? Think about the overall mood of the book.

Now let's move just a little further to bring this all to your own writing. Make two columns--Negative and Positive. On each side list people who fit into each category from your own life--find relatives, nemesis or friend, teachers, a boss, co-worker, classmate, someone in the service industry or restaurants/stores, judge in a writing contest--anyone that once evoked a strong reaction in you. Why did you feel that way about that person? What made the experience negative? What made it positive? Here's the tricky part--even if you felt sad/angry/upset about that person--was it really a negative experience, or did it turn positive once you unpacked it?

A friend of mine says she keeps a writer's journal. It's totally private and she uses it to get herself to think about what she really wants to write about. You could even do a password-protected journal on your computer. Anyone else out there who does this?

Give us the name of one book you've read this year (nonfiction or fiction) which really caused you to react. What was so powerful about it and what emotions did you feel while reading it?

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