Friday, 1 April 2011


       April 2011 THE A to Z CHALLENGE!

Arlee Bird who blogs at Tossing It Out,came up with the A to Z Challenge. Last year it began with a hundred participants. This year it grew and grew.
Arlee has rounded up three hundred participants.
It might take time to get around all those entries. ;)

  acceptance, agitation, alarm, amusement, angst, 
      annoyance, anticipation, apprehension, apathy, arrogance, awe, anxiety, avoidance,

His teacher told him there had been a mistake. Lucas was angry. He had to run away.

Lucas curled his fingers into fists. Only the sharp edges digging into his palms kept him rooted on the polished floor. Heat spreading over his face jabbed like tiny needles. He swallowed back the need for a more simple pain. When his feet itched to kick the chair that lay beside his desk, he hurdled it and ran.

No one experiences emotions the same way. The writers’ job is a difficult one - they want every reader to think "I felt like that too."

  • Show emotions using a range of senses
  • Don’t rush into the emotion give the character time to process what has and is happening
  • Emotions develop as a reaction to the situation and the actions/reactions of others
  • Using body language to show what is being said is not the same as the emotions the character is experiencing
  • There are physical responses to emotion but the character feels them and cannot see them
  • You need imagery but not limp and overused ones.
  • Stormy emotions played out in a hurricane – dumped as the tornado rips the heart out f the town? This is Pathetic Fallacy. 

“Pairing you with Gael was a mistake. Rowland is the Class Captain and…”

Lucas curled his fingers into fists. Only the sharp edges digging smiles into his palms kept him rooted to the polished floor. “Just a mistake? Sure. I don’t mind.” Heat spread over his face and prickled like nettle stings. “Give it Rowland. He’s welcome to it.” Lucas swallowed back the need for a more simple pain. When his feet itched to kick the chair that lay beside his desk, he hurdled it and ran.

Acceptance, apprehension, agitation, amusement, angst, anticipation, alarm, apathy, awe, anger, annoyance, amazement


  1. Great tips, esp that the character feels but does not see the physical reactions to emotions. That's a common POV mistake that almost everyone (including me) makes from time to time.

  2. Great post!

    I love playing around with body language and using it as a way of showing the contrast on how a character is perceived and what they're really thinking.

  3. Excellent post and I loved your examples. Jessica Bell and I are focusing on "showing, not telling" during the A-Z Blogfest, and your post fits right in with the challenges we've set before ourselves!

  4. Emotion is often the hardest to convey,-- it takes a lot of set up to really get the reader involved with the MC's emotion and then just the right words. Great post and happy A-Z!

  5. Hi Jennifer
    Thanks so much :) It is such an easy mistake when we have pictured the scene in our mind's eye it is natural to tell the reader.

    Hi GE
    Me too ;) Very few people say what they really feel. Everyone portrays one side of their character, either stronger or weaker, depending on the circumstances.

    Hi Nicole
    I like the idea of focussing on "Showing." I'm looking forward to reading the post. The challenge with Lucas is he is always angry - it's finding ways for him to respond to his helplessness differently depending on who is putting him under pressure.

    Hi Katie
    Yes. Emotion is hard to convey. That is why it is the area I'm working on for the A to Z. I'm treating it as an extended study ;)

  6. Excellent analysis and instruction. Nice start to the Challenge.

    Contrary to my usual practice of subscribing to comments, to save time during challenge I will not be doing so during April. If you want to respond to my comment , please email me directly from your email notification for the comment.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  7. You'd be a bit busy responding to everything that is pinging at the moment. 1,090 people ringing out comments must be making a lot of angels ;)

  8. Thanks for stopping by my site. Happy A-Z Blogging!

  9. Fantastic post and great tips! Way to rock the letter A!

  10. Good tips Elaine - showing the emotions through actions & reactions is awesome :)

  11. Thanks everyone Sherri, Talli and Jemi
    I'm late got B to crack now :)

  12. Hi Ellie
    I'm glad you think the tips will be useful to you :D

  13. Fantastic points, Elaine. Very nicely done. :)

  14. Much like The Golden Eagle mentioned in the earlier comment, body language is a powerful way to convey emotion and I usually like characters to show emotion this way or through compelling dialogue if the scene does not require them to be in motion.