How to Convey Emotion Without Being Melodramatic or Cliche [Novel Boot Camp 10]

Conveying the emotions of characters is challenging. It’s easy to fall back on cliches or melodrama, even when trying to avoid them. In this video I go over how to convey emotion without the need to overly rely on showing or telling (which helps prevent cliches and melodrama) by focusing on introspection instead.

Comment Question: Do you find introspection difficult to write?

***Peer Critiques: Don’t forget that submissions for the peer critiques must be in to me by tomorrow morning!***

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5 thoughts on “How to Convey Emotion Without Being Melodramatic or Cliche [Novel Boot Camp 10]

  1. Jen (Full of Love) (@gluedwithgold) says:

    In the most recent short story I completed, I made a conscious effort to “get inside the heads” of my characters. I did this because I knew my writing was lacking any real emotion, and I was boring myself with constant descriptions of my characters taking deep, steadying breaths and wringing their hands. The term “introspection” didn’t occur to me, I was just trying to go deeper. But introspection is exactly what I accomplished.

    I’m working up to being able to write novels, and I can see how including introspection will be a good tool to flesh out what I’m writing. My short stories up until now have been very plot-driven, and while I may have enough plot points to reach novel length and complexity, I’ve always fallen short both in word-count and depth. This video created an “a-ha” moment for me – it makes sense now! Now, to practice marrying moving a plot along while also taking the time to let my characters say what’s really going on with them.

  2. bruinsmap says:

    melodrama? Melodrama? MELODRAMA? I am mortified beyond words. My soul is breaking on the shore of your harshness. The beckoning lighthouse that is your flaming red hair has been the siren call that causes me to be smitten on the rocks of your cruelty. Cold mistress of fate. There is no hope.

    I removed the melodrama. I removed the cliches. And all I was left with was one full stop. My life’s work in ruins. One bloody full stop. The humiliation.

    There is nothing more for me than to find my service revolver and do the honorable thing.

    I am bereft. There is no future. My epitaph can only be… “Beware of the gingers”


  3. Tracey D says:

    This was a powerful entry in the video lineup for me. One can barely take a class or read a book or blog about writing that doesn’t cover some level of “showing vs. telling.” But this video revealed to me that there is a third, critical element that has not featured prominently (if at all) in the discussion… “introspection.” Thank you, Ellen, for teaching me something new and helpful! Now to figure out how to learn about writing techniques for introspection 🙂

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