Does Your Story Have an Emotional Impact on Your Reader?

One of the discussion threads in the writer’s group I’m in – is the importance of “emotion” in story writing.

I am currently reading The Writer’s Journey (3rd ed) 2007 – by Christopher Vogler and it’s interesting that he raises the same issue. He’s got a chapter at the end of the book called “The Wisdom of the Body”. Here’s a quote,

“Although we use our minds to process and interpret stories, much is going on throughout the rest of the body as we interact with a narrative. We react to art and to stories about our fellow creatures with the organs of our body. In fact,the whole body is involved, skin, nerves, blood, bones, and organs.

Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces) pointed out that the archetypes speak to us directly through the organs, as if we were programmed to respond chemically to certain symbolic stimuli.”

And later

“It’s not easy to critique your own writing or the writing of others. ….
Sometimes the best way to measure a story’s effect and diagnose its problems is to ask, “How did it make me feel – in the organs of my body?”

In other words, do you draw your reader into your story –¬†emotionally? For example, scenes where you feel a shiver down your spine, hold your breath, feel suspense, laugh, feel anger, surprise, delight, shock, etc).

Does your story explore the emotional possibilities of a situation?

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