Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Conveying Emotions/Calls for Submissions

One of the best ways to bring a character to life is to show how the character feels. Telling readers that a character is angry doesn’t provide enough details to be believable. However, showing emotions through action, feelings, and dialog creates a life-like character.

Writing Norman was angry adds little to enhance character development. Instead, place the reader inside the character's mind and emotions to see and feel the turmoil Norman is experiencing. Norman slammed the door and kicked the chair out of his way. He felt his arm muscles flinch as he tightened his fists and his face flush red as he stared at Homer. In a voice as threatening as a raging fire, he said, “Who wrote this ?”

Norman's actions allow readers to “see” his behavior. The feelings allow the reader to “feel” the body language as the character becomes angry, and the dialog reaffirms the built-up tension.

The goal in writing fiction is to place the reader INSIDE the story. If the characters, setting, and plot are realistic, the reader enters the make-believe world in the first few words. Keep readers engaged by using the senses to transport them inside the character’s thoughts and feelings.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
“The theme of the next issue of Vestal Review is a twist on classic fairy tales. Please submit a flash fiction story (500 words or less) about the yet unheard adventures of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White or any other well-known fairy tale character. Interpret the theme broadly and imaginatively, but incline toward a literary story. Please state the source tale’s name before the title. No more than two submissions per author, as usual. Submit between August 1 and November 30, 2011.” Pays (rates vary depending on story length; “stories of great merit receive up to $25 flat fee; 3 cents a word is a minimum pay in any case.” See for details (via Pam Casto’s Flash Fiction Flash newsletter,

Call for Submissions for Student Writers:
Who: If you are currently a student in grades nine through twelve, Crashtest wants to hear from you.
What: Crashtest publishes poetry, stories and creative non-fiction in the form of personal essays, imaginative investigation, experimental interviews, or
whatever else you would like to call it. We’re looking for writing that has both a
perspective and a personality. We’re looking for authors who have something
to say. Our only request is that you don’t send us work which you found boring or tedious to write. No enforced school assignments, please!
When: Crashtest accepts submissions all year long


  1. Thanks for the tips and links.
    Donna V.

  2. Perfectly said, with economy of words. I think the extension of action, implying emotion, gives the reader more opportunity to construct the scene in his/her head. It's amazing how the mind is able to do that.