Writing emotional triggers, while optional, will take your writing to all-new levels of emotional connection for readers. This is a shortened sample lesson from my 5-week masterclass on writing in deep point of view.
In my book Method Acting For Writers, I talk about writing emotions in four layers: primary emotions (instinctive, knee-jerk, unthinking emotional responses), emotional triggers (optional), secondary emotions (thinking emotional responses to primary emotions), and behavior (what those emotions force the character to DO).
Don’t Google primary and secondary emotions—the clinical definitions are too nebulous to be a helpful template. In the context of fiction writing, whether an emotion is a primary or secondary emotion has more to do with what’s fueling the emotion.
Anger is almost always a secondary emotion—we’re angry because of/or in response to something.
But take attraction for instance; this can an instinctive response the character has no control over (a primary emotion), but it can also be a feeling that develops over time with familiarity (a secondary emotion). Thinking of emotions this way ensures the WHY is built-in for readers.
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