Is there a GPS for emotions?

Karalee’s Post #42

I loved Silk’s post about knowing exactly where you are with respect to using GPS. It refers to the physical place on earth, or even in the universe, and the references to where you are can be verified through our senses.

But what about one’s emotions?

There isn’t a GPS system that can (yet) track the path to sorrow, happiness, anger, frustration, love, or any other emotion that we feel through a complex system in our brain that somehow delivers these messages to our awareness (mind and body). Sure, there are predictors such as romantic love that makes one feel euphoric, or the untimely death of a loved one to generate the feeling of anger and sorrow, or the survival of a mass shooting to feel survival guilt and the development of a fear of guns.

But what about creating the more subtle emotions such as disappointment, trust, (or loss of trust), or the reader experiencing like versus love, or discomfort versus fear, etc? To me being able to do this is the magic created by good writing. It is mastery of a writer truly feeling the feelings and being able to recreate them through language.

It’s the magic of being able to make a reader laugh or cry, or to stop and think and remember your story when they have finished reading it.

To me writing on an emotional level is writing what you know. The physical world can be  researched and put to paper as if the writer has experienced it, but can a writer convincingly write about fear if he/she has never experienced it? Or sorrow? Or hatred? Or any of our emotions?

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Is there a GPS for emotions?

  1. “Can a writer convincingly write about ….” That is an excellent point to ponder. I find it difficult to write the right words for characters when they’re experiencing something I haven’t. I suspect successful writers and writing teachers would tell us this is something we have to master to write “successfully.” And maybe it’s one reason why I could never write a horror story or one about horrific events happening to characters. I simply can’t relate to such things. Some people can do it, though. Or they find a way to make an emotion they’ve experienced fit a different situation for their characters. For me, this post really illustrates how truly difficult it is to write a gripping story.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts. Readers want to connect with our characters too. This is an emotional connection and is developed through the story line and how our characters physically and emotionally react. Yes, writing a gripping story is an amazing feat, but magical when it happens. That is what keeps me passionate about continuing.

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