Do your characters posses emotion?


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Thread: Do your characters posses emotion?

  1. #1

    Do your characters posses emotion?

    I don't mean do they experience emotions, of course they do, but do they posses their emotions, or their emotions posses them?

    It is easy to see with the strong emotions, love, fear, hatred etc. , but it can extend to the smallest feelings.
    'He was annoyed by an itch'
    'An itch was annoying him'

    Do you think your characters reflect your way of dealing with the world? "My characters possess their emotions and so do I", or do you think that different characters have different approaches. The obvious presumption might be that the weak were possessed and the strong possessive, but I can see all sorts of exceptions and variants.

    Is it something you would consider taking into account when writing or editing, or would that be micro management? My own view is that if I maintain awareness of such things for a while they become an automatic part of me.
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  2. #2
    As it is with all people, there are times when emotions can overwhelm my characters. In one of my novels a pacifist goes on a killing spree when his lover is killed by a religious cult, but this sort of thing happens in them all. Emotion very often drive an activity.

    Maybe I don't understand your question, because for me, the answer is obvious.

  3. #3
    I think that we all interact with emotion differently. Some people are driven by it, others only experience it. Or to bring personality typing into it (which is how I'm experimenting with framing my characters) people tend to lean more on feeling or thinking (logic) when making decisions.

    There is a book of liturgies called every day holy. One of the liturgies is for fiction writers in which part of the prayer is "help me bring these characters to life". That stuck with me. We are all very different people who experience ourselves and the world differently.

  4. #4
    the answer is obvious.
    It's the way you write them. I can also imagine a hero who is a self possessed detective, off the top of my head, there must be loads of other possibilities.
    "Give me time I will find out how to delete the duplicates, in the meantime avoid the ones with a date instead of a title."
    I found out how and was discussing it with my technical adviser (Younger daughter) and she said "Why bother? It's obvious anyway and not a problem, and you will lose a few views" . So I didn't.

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  5. #5
    WF Veteran Tettsuo's Avatar
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    Depends on what you, the writer, is trying to portray.

    Not every character is strong or self-aware. Just like in real life, some people are controlled by their emotions while others own their feelings and actions.

    This reminds me of passive voice discussions.
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  6. #6
    This is an excellent topic to think about. When thinking about this I'm using a different word, control. I think the ability or inability to control emotions can be great for character development and depth. It also is excellent way to create conflict and move the plot along.

  7. #7
    It varies. I might have them get emotionally overtaken for narrative purposes.


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  8. #8
    FoWF Greyson's Avatar
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    i think it'll depend on two things mainly:

    1. how do emotions interact with your story? is it driven by emotions? then they'll take
    more of a front seat in the character's mind, and you might see them being controlled by them more

    2. your metaphysical conception of emotions: how do you believe emotions interact with us
    in real life? are they controllable, or merely observable? and, then, how well trained is your character
    in either case?
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  9. #9
    I think the main way your reader is going to experience emotion from your writing is if your characters do. Not that they necessarily need to rage and mourn and seethe and such *all* the time, but I think if your objective is to emotionally impact your reader, your characters should feel things. I don't think I'm smart enough to write something purely intellectually engaging, so my characters tend to feel things in my work. Gotta work with the tools you've got, amirite?
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  10. #10
    I steal your cheese and wee in your tea. What emotions do you and I experience?
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    I don't mean do they experience emotions, of course they do, but do they posses their emotions, or their emotions posses them?

    It is easy to see with the strong emotions, love, fear, hatred etc. , but it can extend to the smallest feelings.
    'He was annoyed by an itch'
    'An itch was annoying him'

    Do you think your characters reflect your way of dealing with the world? "My characters possess their emotions and so do I", or do you think that different characters have different approaches. The obvious presumption might be that the weak were possessed and the strong possessive, but I can see all sorts of exceptions and variants.

    Is it something you would consider taking into account when writing or editing, or would that be micro management? My own view is that if I maintain awareness of such things for a while they become an automatic part of me.

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