My dream, from the time I developed an obsession for writing stories, has been to write one that can make people cry. Well, my stories, I hear, have moved a goodly number of compassionate souls.
But really, what are the odds that stories can move a person to tears? Has the written word got such power? The answer is a resounding yes!
Have you ever read a story of an individual who goes through so much adversity that you are touched to the point of shedding tears? Maybe not, but I am sure that you have read something that is so touching that you feel the tears squeezing to burst out…
However, compared to television, the written word seems to pale in its power to move people’s emotion. Television sends a flood of information to the viewer’s eyes. Vivid images of the plight of the actors and their evident anguish flash before their eyes. If you have watched a sad movie, you will agree with me that the screen can easily move someone to tears. With mournful music playing in the back ground, even the most callous of souls are sent into sniffing.
Let us borrow one or two lessons from the movie industry and use that to write moving stories.
Firstly, television sends clear and vivid images of the plight of the actors. No one needs a special education to understand what he is seeing.
The same should be true of your writing if you want it to move people. Your writing should be clear and understandable to your target audience. Furthermore, use graphic language that creates vivid images in their minds. Help them visualize what the characters are going through and their feelings. Choose the right words. Your choice of words is, ultimately, what will determine whether your story will have an effect on your readers or not.
Secondly, the movies industry appeals to the compassion that is inherent in humans. All of us have a degree of compassion to those that we care for. So the movie industry moves to make the viewers develop a certain relationship with the actors, so that in the end, the viewer not only likes them but loves them. Therefore, she feels their pain and sorrow.
Employ the same in your stories. Make your readers develop a relationship with your characters. Let them identify with them. Make them love your characters. You’ll do this more effectively if you develop your characters in such a way that your reader seems them as real people with real problems. In short, develop the human side of your characters.
It is important to make your character a compassionate person too. Very few people will feel anything for a villain-unless you develop his humans side; if you show that in some situations, he loses his hard, callous side and reveals real humane emotions. People tend to love a good person, and in time, they will feel for him. So if you are writing a sad story, don’t make your main character a callous villain. When he suffers adversity, your reader will be like:
“He surely got what he deserved!”
Finally, the major trick of the movie industry: a twist in fate. You are there watching, and you are quite liking where everything is going, when BLAAAAAAM! Your favourite character experiences terrible misfortune, tragic loss, or even death. And since at this point you have developed feelings for the actor, you are moved to tears.
This you should do too in your story. Just at the point when everything is going fine and your reader is quite liking it, i.e. feeling the joy and happiness the character is feeling, BOOOM! tragic and heartrending misfortune attacks. At this point, since your reader has developed a relationship and hence affection for your character, she may be moved to tears….
I hope that the lessons we have learned from the movie industry will help you write better sad stories. I can’t wait to read them and be moved to tears!
Hey, happy writing!
Secrets to Writing a Sad Story