DON’T TOY WITH MY EMOTIONS-ENGAGE YOUR READERS BUT DON’T TICK THEM OFF

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I suppose every author wants to engage their readers’ emotions in a positive way. That’s not to say that every sentiment a reader feels needs to be one that warms their hearts or has them sighing in contentment. Yet, when they close the book for the final time, I want my readers to feel happy and satisfied, even if they suffered a bit—or a lot—along the way.

I have read a few books which moved me to such an extent, I’ll never read them again. I adored the books and am awed at the talent those authors possessed to create such realistic reactions from me. I felt every emotion they put their characters through. The conflict, tragedies, and victories in the brilliantly crafted plot left me loving the story, but unwilling to relive what the hero and heroine endured.  The emotional impact was simply too intense. Once was enough, thank you.G_Pagliei_-_Au_jardin

If written well, we do feel the characters’ emotions, don’t we? Isn’t that an author’s goal, to get their characters to connect with the book’s readers?  Don’t you, as a reader, especially enjoy books where you cheer for the protagonist and hiss and curse at the antagonist?

I always want to engage my readers’ emotions.  I want them to gasp in surprise, cry in empathy, storm  in outrage, and laugh until they pee their pants.  What I don’t want is to either fail to stir them at all, or write a story that leaves a negative impression that lingers with them long after they’ve finished the book

If they finish it at all.

Just like I mentioned above, I’ve also read books (some of which were critically acclaimed) May,_Edward_Harrison_-_Daydreamingthat I loathed, and I do mean loathed. I came away disliking the story, hating the way I felt after reading it, and wondering, is this really what the author aimed for? A nasty glob sits in my stomach afterward, and it takes a while to dissipate.  The negative feelings I associate with the story linger far longer.

I’ll never pick up a book by those authors again, because though I want deep and gripping emotions stirred in me when I read, I don’t want be left feeling like I’ve been plowed over by a herd of elephants  or hit by a train. I actually threw two of those books I mentioned above across the room.  To this day, I grimace whenever those stories come to mind, and it’s been years since I read them.

At the end of a romance, I want to be uplifted and inspired, even if the ending wasn’t quite the happily-ever-after I’d imagined it was going to be.

What about you? Do you prefer straightforward story telling that doesn’t engage your emotions, or do you favor stories that stir you, but leave you satisfied when you turn the final page?

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The trivia question for today, is in The Earl’s Enticement  what does Adaira accuse Roark of? You can find the answer HERE.

All images are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

 

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Author

A bestselling, award-winning author, COLLETTE CAMERON pens Scottish and Regency historicals featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intelligent, intrepid damsels who reform them. Blessed with three spectacular children, fantastic fans, and a compulsive, over-active, and witty Muse who won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she still lives in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds, though she dreams of living in Scotland part-time. Admitting to a quirky sense of humor, Collette enjoys inspiring quotes, adores castles and anything cobalt blue, and is a self-confessed Cadbury chocoholic. You'll always find dogs, birds, occasionally naughty humor, and a dash of inspiration in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances.

19 Responses

  1. I’m good with tortured heroes or heroines, Collette. I’m good with emotion that goes so deep it hurts. But in the end, I want that perfect happily ever after.

    • I know the more we feel their agony, the more impact the story has on us. I love those stories but I hate how they make me feel.

  2. I do love a book that can tear at my emotions as long it leaves with with a high of contentment at the end.

    • I had to read a highly acclaimed novel for my undergraduate studies. I hated the book from beginning to end, not only because it was so disturbing and took such an emotional toll, but the ending was awful.

  3. It really depends on my mood during the time I read a certain book. If it’s deep and tortured with angst I’m all for it, but it all really depends. If I’m not feeling well when I read a certain book then I might hate that book for a good part of the time but I may give it a try again later when I think I didn’t do the book justice. I also won’t forgo an author forever if I didn’t like one of their books but I’ll give maybe a different book in a different series a try instead.

    And books that stir me in a good, bad or havig me crying like at a funeral way will most likely be the books I remember for ever so it’s a good thing I guess.

    But true to what Sandra said, I want a HEA at the end. A definite must.

  4. I used to read to the end of a book even if it was a real stinker. Don’t do that anymore! I’m getting too old to waste time on books that don’t touch me in some way. My favorite authors leave me with what seems like a tangible person who has hopes and dreams and disappointments, too. All that and an HEA!

    • Me too, Holly. I just put aside a book last night that wasn’t do anything for me and I started another three on my Kindle last month that I won’t be finishing. There are too many great books out there to read one that just isn’t right for me. And I have to have my HEA.

  5. That was so well said!! That is exactly how I feel!!

  6. Barbara Monajem

    It depends on my mood. When I’m feeling emotionally strong, I can read a book that I know will be an emotionally painful read but will leave me satisfied at the end. (I don’t read books that don’t have at least somewhat happy endings.) When I’m low, I will choose a comfort read from one of my favorite authors. Also, I often skim ahead in a new book for any painful scenes and then save them for when I’m up to reading them.

    • Hmmm, I should do that, Barbara. Then I’ll know ahead of time whether or not I’m prepared to go on an emotional roller coaster.

  7. Absolutely! Emotions are a huge part of reading for me. I have to feel for all characters involved otherwise there is no point in it. I just recently read a book as part of a series that had lots of amazing secondary subplots and raw feelings for everyone else but there was nothing happening between the two main characters!! Yes they had their HEA but it left me with such an empty feeling that I’m taking my sweet time before I pick up the next book =D

    • It’s a delicate balance, isn’t it, Joanna? A good story needs conflict. Sometimes I feel like a monster with all the things I put my characters through.

      • But it’s needed in order to make the reader feel part of the story. I agree when you say a book needs to make you feel something =D

  8. stirring, but satisfied

  9. alinakfield

    When I was working a very stressful job, I decided to read some contemporary British police procedurals for distraction. I found myself dragging around in a terrible funk and finally realized, the highly acclaimed authors (more than one, sadly) told such depressingly grim stories that I was ready to shoot myself at the end. Yep, I changed genres! I can’t stand to waste my time on stuff that depresses me, no matter how fine the writing.