How Would You Write It?

To make the reader feel the anguish and turmoil, pain and internal struggle going on within a character is key. How to you go beyond their heart racing, their hands sweating, their legs trembling? Where do those panicked thoughts come in? When do you make them suck in a desperate breath, rake a hand through their hair, or let their eyes slide close?

Sometimes I watch a movie and I wonder, how would I write that scene? I often find myself describing it--typing out the emotions that the characters are feeling that play so eloquently across the screen. But the movie characters don't tell us they are scared or hurting. We see it! Readers don't want to be told, either. They want to feel it. The art of being a spellbinding writer is finding the ability to make the words come to life as easily and effortlessly as if the reader were watching it as a film.

Watch this scene. How would you write it?



  1. I put myself in the character's shoes to feel a situation like this. In my WIP, my MC has multiple situations where it's sort of live or or the other. I put myself in that situation and write what I feel. Music helps me write it, too, especially if it's a song that evokes emotion :)

  2. I write to music as well--film scores. That's the BIG difference between telling stories in film and telling stories on the page. Movies get all the great music! :)

  3. As I watch this I think to myself, oh, that I could someday write a scene with the depth and evocation portrayed here. To simply and completely capture the era, setting, emotion and drama is a great art. I've never seen this scene....a good pick for your illustration.

  4. Jan, I watched the movie yesterday when I was sick. It is really long, and it was criticized for being a "book on film" but I loved it. The music and the emotion on the screen...breathless.