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How to Get Emotion Onto The Page

with Lisa Cron

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  •   01 Class Introduction

    07:32

Class duration: 1h 24m

See all 6 lessons
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About The Class

Page-Turners Aren’t Plot Driven, They’re Emotion Driven

It is a truth universally acknowledged: you have to hook the reader right out of the starting gate. From the very first sentence your story must incite that delicious sense of urgency that makes readers have to know what happens next. This is because every story, even the most rough and tumble, is emotion driven. If we aren’t feeling, we aren’t reading. That’s a tall order. Especially because when we talk about emotion, it’s maddeningly easy to misunderstand what it really is, and thus how to get it onto the page. Emotion doesn’t come from general external “dramatic” situations, nor is it expressed by body language, nor is it about whether a character is happy, sad, angry or really, really cranky. Riveting emotion springs from the protagonist’s internal struggle – the internal cost – of the escalating external decisions the plot relentlessly forces her to make.

This session gives you the tools to create an emotion driven story that will instantly hook readers. You’ll learn:

  • How to make your reader care about your protagonist, beginning on the very first page.
  • How to weave in potent emotion and so give meaning -- and urgency – to everything that happens in the plot. Emotion is the “why” that drives “what” your protagonist does, and it’s that “why” that the reader comes for.
  • Why, no matter how objectively “dramatic” an event is, unless it forces your protagonist to struggle internally, it will fall flat, and how to deftly avoid falling into that trap.
  • What emotion really looks like on the page – it will surprise you.
  • How to use emotion to shape your plot, and so sidestep the common problem of throwing random hurdles at your protagonist in order to ramp up the action.

Topics Covered


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    07:32
  2. 02

    Emotion, Itself

    09:12
  3. 03

    What IS a story?

    10:28
  4. 04

    What does Emotion Look Like on the Page

    13:36
  5. 05

    Busting Writing Myths

    19:19
  6. 06

    How to Weave Emotion on to the Page

    24:35

Meet Your Expert

Lisa Cron

Lisa Cron is a story coach and the author of Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers From the Very First Sentence and Story Genius: How To Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages that Go Nowhere), both published by Ten Speed Press. ... read more

See instructor's Classes

100% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Gabrielle Reynolds

    October 2018

    Lisa Cron is articulate, clear and graphic in talking about things that have been misunderstood in creative writing classes to the detriment of teacher and student - and professional writers. Bringing the reader along on the protagonist's emotional journey is transformative and powerful. Breaking down writing myths and offering in their place techniques that give meaning in story-specific context enables the reader to be included and expanded, rather than feeling left out of the story. Bravo! I learned a great deal. As with her other courses, this one is tops.

  • K Coon

    October 2018

    Loved it! Show don’t tell finally makes sense!

  • Elise Loyacano Perl

    Elise Loyacano Perl

    April 2019

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