Add Emotions to Your Story

Add emotions to your story. There has to be an emotional pull to get your reader to stay for the whole book. The reader has to relate to the characters in your story. If the reader doesn’t feel a reason to be curious about what happens to your main character he closes your book. He has to care about what happens to him so much that he can’t put the book down. He has to feel this burning desire to find out what happens to him. If the manuscript you’ve written isn’t the best seller you had in mind, perhaps emotion is missing from it. Revamp your manuscript and let the emotions come to the surface.

Think about how you would feel if you were actually the main character in your story. What would you be afraid of? What would make you sad? What would make you so angry you’d lose your temper? What would disappoint you? What would make you so happy that you’d dance around your house seven times? Put these emotions into your story. It’ll come alive. The emotions give your reader a reason to like the character and care what happens. It pulls your reader into your story at the beginning and he’ll stay with you to find out what happens along the way. He’ll turn the pages and anxiously anticipate what happens at the very end.

Writers know in their heads what the characters are feeling. The problem comes in describing it in the story so that readers know without a doubt what’s going on and can relate to them. You want them to have compassion for them. Be angry with them. Cheer them on through their next problem until they reach their goal. The reader wants to hear more and more about that character in the story, as if he was a real person.

Donald Maass in a workshop at the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference in 2010 said you must have tension in your story. The dialogue and the descriptions have to show both sides of the picture. Your story must show how the character is pulled in two directions. First, believe they can get the job or goal. Second, believe there is no way they can get the job or reach the goal. The main character may have doubts because of the way he fouled it up last time.

Inside our heads every day, we have at least 50,000 thoughts. We have these opposite points of view that creates tension in our lives. So do the characters in your story. Show they’re human. Share their thoughts. Their thoughts depict their emotions. Give your character one big strength and one big weakness, or give them one small strength and show its growth through your story. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. Our humanity is what we have in common with other people. Readers are hungry to interact with the characters in your story. So fill your story with tension and emotion.

From: Joan Y. Edwards


Guest Blog



I understand your befuddlement; what reason could you possibly find to be interested in this story? Well, consider this: at the heart of The Winter Fortress is a team of commandos hounded by the enemy, surviving in the wild only through their keen ability to hunt.

A little context about The Winter Fortress. It’s 1942, and German scientists are racing to build an atomic bomb. They have the physicists. They have the will. What they don’t have is enough deuterium oxide, “heavy water”, an essential ingredient in their plans to obtain a weapon that would decide the war. In a remote, mountainous valley in Norway stands the lone plant in all the world that makes this rare substance: Vemork. For two years, the Nazis have occupied Norway, and they have threatened the plant’s engineers with death if they do not push production into overdrive.

For the Allies, Vemork must be destroyed. But how would they reach the castle fortress, set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on earth? Enter Leif Tronstad, a brilliant Norwegian scientist who narrowly escapes his country to bring word to the Allies of the plant’s importance and how to infiltrate it. Together with the British Special Operations Executive (“the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”), Tronstad recruits a disparate band of patriots and begins to plan a mission that many believe impossible.

These patriots are Norwegians, who know what it is to endure on their own wits with the most rudimentary equipment (self-designed sleeping bags, rabbit-skin underwear, home-built toboggans). They build snow caves; they navigate through blizzards; they forage for their own food; they climb ice-bound cliff-sides. They are expert cross-country skiers and hunters, and without both of these skills, they never would have had a chance to hit Vemork and escape with their lives.

Attached, you’ll find an excerpt from the book of the first successful hunt for reindeer by one of the team’s leaders. His men are on the verge of starving, and if he does not bring home a kill, they might well die soon. I hope you enjoy the read.

If you do, please help spread the news. Invite me to speak to your book club or local organization. Send this PDF to friends and family. Attach to any friendly newsletter lists. Write a review on Amazon or another favorite website. Post about the book on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. Word of mouth is an author’s close friend. You can also pre-order a book on Amazon or other online retailer.

Thank you for your time and attention. With kind regards,

(You can check out more about me and some of my award-winning, New York Times best-selling books at

Query Letter Basics

What Goes Into a Query Letter?
The key to writing an effective query letter is professionalism. A query letter is a brief, one page business letter containing two or three short paragraphs. This is your calling card so make it your best writing ever.
1) Introduction: title word count, category
2) Your Credentials: past publishing history or life experience that qualifies you as a writer
3) Salutation: thank the editor for his/her time
The first paragraph is your introduction. You need to give the title of your work, a word count, and attract the editor’s interest in your work. Also, if you are sending this as a simultaneous submission (sending this to more than one editor at the same time), let them know about it in this paragraph. Only send simultaneous submissions to editors who will accept them. Cheek the publisher’s guidelines to find this information.
Your credentials belong in the second paragraph. Before you have publishing credits to talk about, use this paragraph to tell the editor your personal reason for writing this piece. After you have been published, list your publishing credits instead. As your successes mount, pick the best three credits to list in this paragraph.
The third paragraph is your salutation. Thank the editor for their time considering the short stay or essay and let them know you are looking forward to hearing from them.

*Use 12 point, Times New Roman or Arial (no fancy script).
*Use traditional business letterhead with your name, date, e-mail, and phone number.
*Use 1 to 1 1.5 inch margins all around.
*Date each query letter
*Address your letter to the proper editor and spell their name correctly (double-check–it is Mr. Smith or Ms. Smith?)-
*Use block paragraph format (single space paragraphs with an extra space between paragraphs—no indents).
*Always include a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) for reply unless told not to by the publisher.

Do not request advice or comments.
Do not talk about how thrilling it would be to be published.
Do not discuss payment
Do not discuss copyright. (Editors know that you own your work the minute you type it.)