“We are masters of our thoughts and slaves of our emotions.” Unknown
Controlling emotion comes with maturity. No, not childhood emotion but the uncharted waters of grown-up feelings. There was a time in my twenties when joy, sadness, love jumped out of me, unfettered.
Maybe starting a new life far from home and entering a new society opens up emotional pathways. Maybe it’s the Latin part of Romanian people, the part where every feeling is expressed to the fullest. Maybe it’s a mixture of the two.
How This Pertains to the Story
To care we must be attached, and it’s no different with a book. We have to feel, be emotionally involved. We need a character whose happiness or anguish means something.
With Stranger or Friend, it was important the reader had access to Zoe’s feelings. Best way to do this, in my view, is via internal monologue. At times this crossed into my own feelings, a time to step back, decide whether to reevaluate or let it be.
Too much emotion can be overwhelming, yet not enough is … well, bland, a textbook manual of cause and effect. Open to the question: why should I care? It sure is tough striking a balance between too much and not enough, yet strike it we must.
Here is one example of Zoe’s internalization:
So much lost. Lives, human decency, trust in people, all gone. Her world, broken now, shifted into a dangerous position, one she might never see snap back in place again. The old life she’d found so demanding, gone. How she’d miss life before the crimes, the killing, this walk in the woods.
What keeps you involved when reading a story?