Unveiling the Heart: Emotional Fiction (Part 1) by Emma-Claire Wilson

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Emma-Claire Wilson

Emma-Claire Wilson

Emotional Fiction: Why Do We Make Our Readers Cry?

When you walk into a bookstore, what draws you to the shelf of books you find yourself in front of? What are you searching for?

If we answer that question honestly, most of the time, we are looking for something to connect with. It may be that we want our hearts to soar and pound as a heroine falls in love with her soul mate; we may want to feel utterly terrified and scared out of our skin, or we may have the overwhelming urge to read something that will make us cry or howl at the moon. Either way, when we are looking for a book to escape into, no matter the genre, we are searching to connect with an emotion.

I believe fiction exists to make us feel something. It is one of the fundamental reasons I believe the creative arts are so important. We turn to science for truth and maths for reason, but we turn to the arts to feel. Music, art, poetry, fiction – we lean on these mediums when we want to understand or experience emotions, and often in a more extreme manner than what we experience in our daily lives; in each of the creative arts, true and authentic emotions are always turned up to the max, and with fiction, that is most definitely the case.

So how do we, as authors, ensure that the emotion is on the page to keep our readers engaged, and how exactly do we turn real life emotions up to max to make our readers cry?

this child of mine Emma-Claire WilsonAs a writer, I love nothing more than hitting a raw nerve and asking my readers to explore difficult emotions. I read to escape the world, but when I write, it’s to make sense of the world around me, so I often take issues I know many will struggle with and pull them apart in a way that makes my readers truly confront their worst fears and highest hopes. Like I said, the arts are about feeling something, so unless I have drawn a tear of sadness or joy, I haven’t done my job.

When tackling my first novel, I was hyper aware that I was dealing with incredibly tough subject matters: grief and loss. They are two emotions that every human being will have to deal with at some point in their lives, but many of us have to bury our true emotions on a day-to-day basis. Between the security and protection of the pages of a novel, I, as an author, hope to give permission to my readers to let out all the suppressed grief they have felt. To live with my characters in such a way that they feel safe enough to feel these powerful emotions in the way they need to be felt for them to heal.

But, in order to make my readers feel these emotions, I knew I would need to engage them very quickly. I would need to gain their trust, make them feel safe and have them feel true empathy and compassion for the fictional characters on the pages of the book in front of them.

With the help of a fabulous mentor, and a detailed reader report from the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme, I was able to not only pinpoint exactly how to make my readers cry from page one, but how to sustain that level of emotion right until the last page.

Those who have read my debut novel, This Child of Mine, have remarked on how emotionally intense the novel is, and I won’t deny that I set out to make my readers weep from the very first page. I wanted my readers to feel every range of emotion in the most intense manner, and truly believe they were living the novel alongside my main character. I wanted them to get lost in the emotion to the point where they let go of their own. It was deliberate, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to achieve.

I was tackling issues that many of us will face in our lives at some point, but I knew that even if these emotions were alien to my readers now, I needed them to feel sympathetic towards the heart-breaking decisions my character would face. To achieve this, they would need to feel one hundred percent invested in the character.

This is where the true work begins because I believe that emotion in fiction can only truly be felt if the author has developed characters on the page that feel so real that you experience their emotions as well as your own as you read along with their journey.

In part two, I will dig into the ‘how’ of this question. Now we know WHY writing emotional fiction is important, are there steps we can take to heighten the emotion we put on the page?

In part two of ‘Unveiling the Heart’, I will share with you my Top 5 Tips on how to get emotion onto the page.

(c) Emma-Claire Wilson




About This Child of Mine:

this child of mine Emma-Claire WilsonWhen Stephanie is told she’s pregnant and that she is sick on the same day, she faces an impossible choice…

After trying for a baby for so long, finding out I was pregnant was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. But in the same breath as the news I had been waiting years to hear, the doctor told me I was seriously ill.

If I carry my baby to term, I will almost certainly die.

If I proceed with treatment, my baby will not live.

My husband – the father of this child – is telling me to save myself. But with all the secrets I know he is keeping from me, I can’t trust him anymore.

What would you do?

An emotional yet uplifting tear-jerker that will have you reaching for the tissues – perfect for fans of EMMA ROBINSON and JODI PICOULT.

Order your copy online here.

Additional Information

Although not entirely autobiographical, This Child of Mine is inspired by Emma-Claire Wilson’s real-life experiences and tackles issues very close to her heart. Dealing with cancer during pregnancy is far from a unique situation, but it is still something not often discussed. With ‘a woman’s right to choose’ being debated widely at the moment, this story tackles the incredibly tough issue of how and when to put a mother’s health first, and asks the question ‘what is it that makes us mothers?’

Emma-Claire writes: ‘The day after The Bookseller announcement, Ed Sheeran and his wife announced that they had struggled with the same issue tackled in this book. The time to talk about this issue is now – so many mothers have dealt with these emotions alone, and I very much hope that this novel will help some to feel seen and understood, and maybe even be strong enough to talk about their own experiences. I am willing to discuss my own personal attachment to this story and the inspiration behind the novel if journalists are keen to discuss.’

About the author

Born in Scotland, Emma-Claire Wilson travelled the world as the child of military parents. After almost 20 years in Spain, she returned to the UK with her husband, two daughters, and rescue dog, Pip. Emma-Claire worked as a journalist for English language magazines and newspapers in Spain and in 2015 launched The Glass House Online Magazine. When not writing emotional fiction, you can find her dreaming up new book ideas or wrapped in a blanket with a book in her hand.

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