Injecting the right amount of emotion at the right time into your writing can be difficult. There are so many factors to take into account. How should your character react? Should the floodgates open to tears or the dam burst and the emotion come gushing through? Does your character have a habit of keeping it all locked in? Or are they an emotional wreck and prone to experiencing many at once?
I’m not saying that the below is a fool proof method. I’m just saying that it helps me.
The first important thing is knowing your character. I know that one of mine would probably kill everything in sight. I know another would wallow and another would grieve and then plot revenge.
Once we know how our characters will react we can begin by describing their feelings. It’s no good to say “He felt sad.” That is not helping anyone, especially you as a writer. We need to describe the emotions. Let out readers feel what our character is feeling.
Can you write a profoundly sad piece and feel sad writing it? If you can feel it and then find a way to describe what it is that you are feeling then you’re onto a winner.
If you find that a bit too difficult then perhaps try to remember a time in your life when you felt that emotion. What caused it? How did you react? What did you feel? If it was a loss, did it get better over time? Did you have to do something to make yourself feel better? We can take our experiences and emulate them in our writing. Even if you are like me and have cut yourself off from the feeling the big stuff, you can still remember your experiences.
Another good way is to listen to music. Find yourself a song that expresses whatever it is that you are describing. Now don’t go ripping off the words, that’s not okay! Just try to imagine what you would do and how you would react if it were you feeling it. Think of all of the emotions then compare them to your character. Would he or she feel that way? How would they react? Write it all down then pick out the parts that can really drive it home. Works for me anyway!