Tag Archives: Angela Ackerman

Overcoming Emotional Wounds: How to Show Your Character Is Beginning to Heal

Photo shows a close-up of the Emotional Wounds Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. The post title is superimposed on the top.

by Angela Ackerman@AngelaAckerman

When it comes to writing a story where a character is going to work through a difficult past wound, there are two behavioral states to convey: one showing their brokenness and dysfunction, and one displaying hard-won insight, self-acceptance, and increased self-worth, all important aspects of growth.

Ironically, writers tend to struggle more with how to show a character’s healthy behavior than they do the downward spiral. (Maybe after all the lessons on tension and conflict, we’ve gotten very good at throwing rocks? Or we’re just all a bit more sadistic that we’re likely to admit!) Either way, that shove down the hill is less stressful to write than the painful crawl back up it.

Here’s what I know: change is painful, both in the fictional world and the real one. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. So when it comes to showing our character’s path to healing in the aftermath of a destructive wound, we need to take it slow. Trusting others, especially after one’s been hurt, is hard. And believing again in hope, that a better tomorrow is possible? This is often the most difficult thing of all. Continue reading Overcoming Emotional Wounds: How to Show Your Character Is Beginning to Heal

Let’s Get Sensory: Powering Scenes Using The 5 Senses

by Angela Ackerman, @AngelaAckerman

There isn’t a writer alive who doesn’t believe description is important. We know that the key to pulling readers into our fictional world lies in how well we can describe each scene, giving it color and texture, and infusing it with emotion and substance. And one of the very best ways to achieve this is to use sensory detail: the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds that our POV character or narrator experiences.

Emotion factors heavily in sensory description because the mindset of the POV character influences what they notice (which also determines what details the reader is privy to). A character sitting by a river to enjoy a happy, reflective moment after graduating university may be drawn to clusters of green shoots along the muddy bank that slant in the direction of the sun.  She might note the sharp, clean scent of pine needles and how each breath makes her feel renewed. The give of moss, the gentle breeze, and the sound of the water chuckling across stones…all of these details may lull her (and the reader) into a sleepy state of satisfied bliss.

However, a character dropping behind an uprooted tree along the riverbank to hide from her enemies would focus on different details: the poke and scrape of wood against her back and arms as she presses tight against the fan of roots. The cold river water seeping into her shoes as they sink in the mud which reeks of decay. The snap of branches, the shouts of her pursuers, the squeezing rush of her own shuddering breaths. Continue reading Let’s Get Sensory: Powering Scenes Using The 5 Senses