As a mom, nothing pushes my freak out button faster than a cry baby. I don’t know what it is but a crying baby triggers my mom reflex to where I need to pick it up and try to sooth it. This is a gut reaction that is seriously intense for me. Today at the gym, there was some movie on about a concentration camp in WWII. There was a baby that people were trying to hide from the guards. I was nearly in tears before I asked the gym personnel to change the channel.
Why such a strong reaction to a movie?
I think in part, it has to do with being away from my own kids. Knowing that there are times when my daughters are upset and I’m thousands of miles away is incredibly frustrating. It’s hard not being able to hold my kids. So there was that. Combine that emotion with the emotion of being unable to protect my kids which was triggered by the movie and we’ve got a recipe for a strong emotional reaction.
What’s this got to do with writing?
As a writer, I want to inspire strong reactions in my readers. I want them to care deeply about my characters to the point that when they laugh, my reader laughs. When my characters are hurting, I want my reader to hurt. So as a writer, this reaction I had intrigued me. Being able to analyze where the emotions came from will enable me in the future to pull from that emotional base and put it on paper. It might be in a future book, but knowing where my emotions came from will help me in the future.
If I’ve inspired a strong reaction in my reader, I will have connected with them in a way that all writers dream of. How often have you read a book that you just don’t care about the characters. Finding a way to connect deeply with your readers is a challenge for every writer because if the reader doesn’t care, they are less likely to pick up your next book or worse, not finish the current book.
So the next time you have a strong reaction to something, sit back and try to figure out why. The answers might surprise you and it’s something you can put in your writers’ ruck sack for future use.