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Christy McKellen On Adding Emotions to Your Writing

We have debut author Christy McKellens this week talking about adding emotions in your writing.


About Christy

Formerly a Video and Radio Producer, Christy now spends her time writing fun, impassioned and emotive romance with an undercurrent of sexual tension. When she’s not writing, she can be found enjoying life with her husband and three children, walking for pleasure and researching other people’s deepest secrets and desires.



Christy loves to hear from readers. You can get hold of her at her

Website             Facebook       Twitter


 Finding the Feels



The Harlequin Romance line is all about the feels. The tingles down your spine that you experience whenever characters get under your skin and give you what you crave from that type of story—an emotional climax.

Getting this right for a reader is the most challenging part of my job.

It takes a lot of deep thinking to get to the heart of my character’s conflicts and subsequently help them find a way out of their own personal darkness. Because of the way I write—in a rather piecemeal style, fitting my words in amongst household chores and children—this can be a bit of a trial, to say the least.

For me, the way to understand how a character might react to a situation to give you “the feels” you’re looking for, is all about getting into their heads. So I try to put myself in their position. This, of course, is only possible if you feel like you know your characters. Writing out a short biography for each of them can help with this i.e. finding out about their formative experiences: what’s shaped them throughout their lives, like past relationships with partners and family. Also life catalysts—things that happened to them that had a huge impact on their lives. Sometimes doing a mini interview with each of them can help get them straight in your head too and make them feel more real. The most useful questions for me to answer as I get to know my characters are:

What do you most want in life?

What are you most afraid of?

Or on a similar theme—What’s stopping you from getting what you want?

If you get where your characters are coming from you can have a good idea of how they’re going to get where they need to go. And then you throw everything you can think of in their path as they desperately try to get there.

And you’ve found the feels.

Unlocking Her Boss’s Heart is available from all good retailers from 1st January 2016


More than just a job! 

Cara Winstone is determined to bounce back from her last—disastrous—PA job, and working for Max Firebrace is exactly how she's going to do it. Little does Cara know that walking into her brooding boss's luxurious London town house also has her walking into his past… 

Since losing his wife, Max doesn't think he has any love left to give. But something in the warmth of Cara's smile jump-starts Max's heart again, making him wonder if he's ready for a new happy-ever-after…with Cara by his side.

 Buy links:






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26 comments:

  1. I remember reading in Kate Walker's 'how-to-write-romance', that Harlequin look for 'emotion, emotion, emotion.' :-)

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    1. I love Kate's book! It really helped me get to grips with writing category romance. She's a very clever lady, Kate Walker (and was so lovely to me when I went all fangirl on her when I met her :-) Yes, emotion is the key!

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  2. Adding emotion is important. I always add as much as I can while writing then look for places to add more when I'm revising.

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    1. The revision process is usually when I put most of the emotion into my stories, Chrys. I find it's easy to miss good opportunities when you're first drafting, so revising is really useful because you have the time to layer more in and go deeper. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Adding emotion is important. I always add as much as I can while writing then look for places to add more when I'm revising.

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  4. Great tips. I wrote fairly in-depth bios for each of the major characters in my one-of-these-days-I'll-get-back-to-it WIP, and had a lot of fun doing it.

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    1. It really is a fun exercise, and immensely useful, I find. It's also great to have it when you're lost in the middle of the story and need to remind yourself about what's driving your characters forwards :-)

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  5. Congrats, Christy! The character bios/interviews are a great tip.

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    1. Thank you Cherie! Hope you find it useful. Thanks for commenting.

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  6. You definitely have to get into your character's head to make the emotions believable. That's what draws the reader to the character and makes for a good read.

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    1. I totally agree. If I can't understand what drives them they remain strangers to me, which I think then shows in my writing.

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  7. I love a London setting and romance is a plus.

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    1. It's such a fun, vibrant city. I love setting my stories there (and visiting when I get the chance! It's all research, right?) :-)

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  8. You had me at "undercurrent of sexual tension!" It's not easy to convey deeply genuine emotions without sounding too cliche. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions, Christy and best of luck with your book. Hi Olivia!

    Julie

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    1. I'm all about the undercurrents, Julie :-) Avoiding cliche is definitely one of the trickiest things when writing, I find. That's why it's so important to trust your voice and write the words that mean something to you instead of how you *think* it should sound. Really pleased the post hit some good notes for you. Thanks so much for commenting.

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  9. Such great tips! Sexual tension is everything. I was a strong believer in the GMC writing style when I wrote romance and it holds true today, although I often have trouble with setting the stakes too low.

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    1. GMC is what helps keep me on the straight and narrow, Stephanie. Often in the middle of the story, when it starts to feel a bit flabby, I make myself revisit the character's GMC's to help push me along. It's easy to get bogged down in the details of the story otherwise. High stakes from the beginning often helps to keep the conflict strong (I've definitely been caught out by not having a strong enough conflict to maintain the story too!) Thanks for commenting!

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  10. Great advice! It is so important to think about where a character is coming from and what is at stake! :) Best of luck to Christy!
    ~Jess

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    1. Wise words, Jess. I have to make sure to remind myself of the stakes to keep the tension at the right level throughout the whole story (hard!) Thanks so much for your support!

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  11. Awesome. I think deep characterization is important and when authors don't get deep enough into the character's heads, they're doing the story a HUGE disservice.

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    1. Absolutely! "Go deeper" is something I hear a lot :-) It usually takes me a few passes of the ms to get as deep into the emotion as I need to though. It's a tough one to get right, but as you say, absolutely essential for a really satisfying read.

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  12. I agree if you take the time to get to know your characters before you write the story, it will have more depth xox ♡

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    1. I definitely find it helps, Launna, a bit like having a road map in front of you. Then you can spend your time developing them further as you put them into as many challenging situations as you can think of :-) Thanks so much for commenting.

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  13. Unlocking the right feels isn't easy, but it does deepen the story and character development.

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    1. It's incredibly hard! But you're right, it's all worth it in the end :-)

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  14. Hi everyone, sorry to be so slow in replying to you, I've been away for a while without access to the internet. Thanks so much for reading my post and leaving such fab comments! I really appreciate it.

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