Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Is a picture always worth a thousand words?
A striking scene or painting can definitely affect our emotions. Take this lone dog.  As you look at it what does it convey? Can you imagine the situation and describe why that little creature is there? The great artists learned to capture our emotions as we study what they have portrayed.

As writers, we need to lean this art. To deliver in such a way our readers will feel what we feel. We need to Emote in every scene that demands to reach out and capture the heart strings. If we don't feel it, why would a reader? We need to slip beneath our character's skin. We want to somehow reach for all the emotions we are writing for her. Sometimes it comes from life's experiences. Or from those close to us for whom we have empathy.

Temptation is a very strong emotion or state. Have you ever felt that irresitble longing for something you know is wrong ... sinful? Sure, we all have. Make that urge come alive in your character, unless you want to write about angels! We need to show them struggling with that inner torment. That longing ache which deep down they know will destroy them if they give in to it.

Unrequited or Sacrificial Love both have a whole swag of complications attached. The desires that must be quashed because it can never be. Or the true concern of their beloved that must come before their own desires and longings.

Transformation. Oh yes, our main character must change. If  he/she is the same person at the end as the beginning...they haven't learned anything. (Except if you're writing a Scarlett O'Hara type character!) We want to show the hard knocks of life/difficult situations have had a real impact in their lives. We want our reader to see that change and take it on a personal level.

We all want Realism in our writing. And to combat a shallow read. Otherwise we won't have the depth in our characters to pull in our reader to identify with them. And why do we want that? To show although things do not always go the way we hope or plan in this life, the answer is Hope. It is there waiting for us to grasp believe and understand that all things work for the good of those who love God and who have been called according to His purpose. Maybe we write fiction, but it's great to be able to weave in truth so that they may be able to grasp it.

Then the best state of all for the author - EXHILARATION. The assurance everything's going well in the plot. Maybe it's because we're tying up  things in the last chapter. Maybe the final draft? And that gorgeous feeling we're over the hump and it's easy-going down hill all the way. Whatever. We can exult that the hard times are behind and the manuscript is finished and on it's way to an agent or a publisher or finding its own independent way in this competitive world.

I'd be interested to know whether you can also relate to pictures that help you emote in your writing. Or music that touches your soul and helps the writing process. Or painful experiences you can adapt into your story.

*  Rita Stella Galieh is a scriptwriter and co-speaker on Vantage Point, a 5 minute program broadcast throughout Australia. She is now with the Living Word Literary Agency and at a "waiting state" for a publisher to accept her manuscript. As a contributor to several US Anthologies by Adams Media, she has two Historical Romances published by Ark House Press. Each year she and her husband minister in Buddhist Government schools, prisons, hospitals, shopping malls, and churches in Thailand.  
Follow me on Twitter  @RSGalieh


  1. I think that last picture you have used might end up being a painful as well as an exhilarating experience for all concerned, Rita, unless there's some soft landing spot we can't see! Seriously though, I often write with music playing on my ipod nearby--usually it's classical music or something soft and gentle.

  2. Maybe the high while it lasts is worth the dump at the end???
    Classical music's great, Jo, I agree, but thankfully I withdraw into the world of my characters and don't even notice when the TV is switched on.

  3. Great post, Rita. I needed that reminder. There is quite a skill in being able to express such emotions.

    Love that final photo - a painful end for the boy hanging on.

  4. Thanks Ian. It's not easy to write how a character is feeling because sometimes we find it difficult to express our own feelings.
    Hah! Just goes to show hangers-on get what's coming to them???

  5. Rita, great post! I like your exhilaration photo because we often have a crash landing at the other end when we start the editing process. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Hi Narelle, hope all went well with your op! Yes, I guess we as writers experience the whole gamut of highs and lows. The Lord has the right time in hand...we just need to trust in His timing.