Friday, April 5, 2013

Emotion in Writing and the Ellipsis--The A to Z Writing Challenge

One of the most important goals in writing fiction is creating enough emotional depth in our characters that the reader will care about them, and that they will want to read all the way through to the end the book. Without emotions, our characters are flat, and so is our story. Why else would the reader pick our book but for an emotional journey.

According to The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, (I love this book!) ... "95% of all communication is non-verbal. We show our emotion by our body language, and as writers, we must take our innate skills of observation and transfer them to the page." I agree! A book with just dialogue would be so boring, and unemotional.



The ellipsis

Just when I thought I couldn't love another punctuation mark more, here comes the ellipsis . . .

What? Where was I? Oh, yes! The ellipsis. I have been using Jane Straus's GrammarBook.com as an official source for my grammar rules, but this is where we don't exactly agree. While she does have the ellipsis doing a good job in shortening quotes, there is another use in the world of fiction. When there is a pause . . . use the ellipsis. When the thought trials off, use the ellipsis, as noted in the cartoon--only ellipsis's have only 3 dots. Just sayin'.



17 comments:

J.L. Schmidt said...

I love ellipses!!! I use them all. the. time... well, not in my books... but when I'm communicating online... like now. :) hahah

I do use them sparingly in my writing. They often show up whenever someone is mortally wounded, to emphasize that they are having a hard time speaking or that they are fading in and out of consciousness. It also often denotes when someone is confused and not sure what to say.

Kate said...

I love the emotion thesaurus!

Debra Erfert said...

J.L. and Kate: Writing emotions and using ellipsis are actually connected. I'm afraid I over use those cute little dots in my rough draft, but then I'll go back and take practically all of them out before I call the manuscript finished.

Margo Kelly said...

Well, I was going to feature the well loved ellipsis today, also ... but I decided to go with the slender and tall exclamation point instead. :)

Great post!

Debra Erfert said...

Well, next week we only have one overlapping letter, and that's H. Hyphens are on the agenda. I'll try to find something different. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I use those lovely ellipsis's too. Nice to meet you.

Debra Erfert said...

Hi, Susan! Glad you stopped by.

Laura Marcella said...

Hello, Debra! I don't like when ellipses is overused, especially in narrative. It makes sense in dialogue, but in exposition it can get annoying. Example: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. I love love love those books and she's a brilliant writer, but I don't know what she and the editors were thinking by leaving in all those ellipses!

Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Jessica Peterson said...

I too love the ellipsis. Perhaps I even use them a bit too much.

Have fun with a-z.

Debra Erfert said...

We must think in ellipsis and that translates into our writing. In the end, in our final edit, we can always take a lot of them out.

mooderino said...

I think if you can emotionally affect a reader they'll stick with the story through thick and thin.

mood
Moody Writing

Debra Erfert said...

I agree, Mooderino.

Connie Gruning said...

I'm guilty of ellipsis over use. But... I need THEM!!
Connie
A to Z buddy
Peanut Butter and Whine

Debra Erfert said...

Connie, I sense that you're a very emotional writer. lol

Brett Minor said...

I rarely use them in my professional writing, but they show up on my blog all the time.

Dropping in from A to Z Challenge. It's my first year participating.

Brett Minor
Transformed Nonconformist

Jean Davis said...

I am a recovering ellipse abuser. Thankfully, they've mostly been relegated to blog use.

The Emotion Thesaurus is a very useful book. I love it too!

Debra Erfert said...

Brent, I'd probably faint dead away if I saw ellipses used in a business letter. I'd never put any in a query letter. Not once. Ever! But blogs are more emotionally driven, aren't they? Oh! Please say they are . . .

Jean, I like the way you think. I, too, put myself into that category of former ellipse abuser. It was tough to reform, almost painful . . . at times.

SNOWDRIFT a romance novel

I have a new novel on pre-order. Snowdrift is my first romance, and I love the characters so much!  Here is what the story is about....