Emotional Dragons Eating Authors: Emotions and YOU!

Peter Leavell
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho.  www.peterleavell.com.

I heard dragons devour authors who write boring books. Or maybe dragons burn the books. I can’t remember.  

Repeat after me—my writing will not be boring.
Jesus wasn’t boring! (Jesus juke!)

You know what deflects boredom? Not reading a boring book. 

But even better, add this key ingredient:


Galadriel: “The quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail to the ruin of all.” LotR
Your quest is to evoke emotions in readers. 
Emotions and Me

I hate waiting. Groans, pleadings, cries for mercy come from my side of the car at every red light. Why? Anger covers my boredom. Makes the dull moments manageable. I’m not emotionally engaged in the bored moment until I’m angry. 
David Banner: “Mr. McGee, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” TIH

Love can work the same way. Humans are intolerable. We’re writers, so we can admit that little secret. But love makes me want to be with my wife every second of every day. 

Miracle Max: “Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that.” PB
Credits: Relatable.com 
Getting Philosophical

Postmodern America. Emotions reign as king. Emotion is truth. Science is proved and disproved and proved again with no answers to the meaning of life. Philosophy is depressing, and worse, confusing. Religion builds massive structures then erects signs to advertise like banks, promising huge rewards for deposits. How can that be truth?

To most, how I feel is the only motivation that matters. It’s the only truth we can verify. We’re told we can’t control how others feel, only ourselves. So if we control our stimuli, or situations, then we can have a pretty good time. 

*Special INSERT: Christians
The truth is Christ. But if Christ is king, then emotions are prince. We look for joy and peace from Christ. God delivers. Beware of guilt, though. We work to assuage guilt, then the lack of guilt is pleasure. Is lack of guilt true joy? For some.
Col. Jessep: ”You want answers?”
Kaffee: “I think I’m entitled to.”
Col. Jessep: “You want answers?”
Kaffee: “I want the truth!”
Col. Jessep: “You can’t handle the truth!” AFGM
Practical Writing Tips

Readers desperately want to feel their pain reflected back through our work. They want joy. They want boredom squashed. They want to learn so they can feel as if they are getting smarter. Evoke emotion!

These are extraordinarily boring for today’s readers:
Endless Flashbacks.
Narrative longer than Tweets.
Mindless monologs.
Action with no point.
Kissing and sex with no point.
Gardening. Just kidding. Gardening is awesome. 
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. -Greek Proverb
Last Tidbits of Advice You Can Skip But Shouldn’t:

Sometimes we see the world in a problem/solution kind of way. Society and religion, yes, they have problems. But we use our fiction to dispense solutions. That’s not art. That’s propaganda. Stop it. It’s boring. The line is too fine to walk. Focus on story, and if there’s a statement in there somewhere, great!

Tension on every page? It’s a cheap emotion and readers grow immune. Vary emotions like you would vary sentence structure.

What’s exciting for some is boring for others. Vary the thrills.


Counterpoints can be set out like drinks for every problem that enters the café. But there’s one truth we can’t get around. Boring doesn’t sell well, unless the professor assigns it. Emotionally engage your reader. Give them something to feel. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll feel alive.

Doc. Frankenstein “It’s Alive! IT’S ALIVE!” YF