Reposted: How to Evoke Reader Emotions with “Surprisingness”

This article by C.S. Lakin is excellent. Click the link below to learn more about evoking emotional responses from your readers, future authors:


How to Evoke Reader Emotions with “Surprisingness”

Have you ever read a book for a second, third, even tenth time—just to experience the emotion the story evokes? Clearly the elements of the story aren’t a surprise. You know exactly what to expect. If so, you were benefiting from an author who knew how to evoke reader emotions.

Literary agent Donald Maass says that emotions are most effectively evoked by trickery–when readers aren’t noticing we are manipulating them. He says:

Artful fiction surprises readers with their own feelings.

I can honestly say that, as a reader, the best novels do just that. They evoke such emotions from me—unexpected emotions—that I am stunned by my own reactions.

We writers want to evoke emotion throughout our novels—big, small, expected, and unexpected—so that even when readers know what emotion is being stirred in them, when they see what’s coming, it doesn’t reduce the impact.

Read more…

One thought on “Reposted: How to Evoke Reader Emotions with “Surprisingness”

  1. I understand your point. As to “trickery” and “manipulation” I agree. However, In my case all those years of second, third and tenth readings of fiction stories carefully designed to evoke my emotions, together with all the virtual reality rising proudly around me, led me to the inevitable feeling of boredom when I look at any of those stories. Consequently, about 7 years ago I ceased reading fiction finding searching for truth much more interesting and surprising. Kind regards.

    Liked by 1 person

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