Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Guest Blog from Author DiAnn Mills

I'm thrilled to host DiAnn Mills today as a guest blogger! DiAnn is celebrating the release of her newest novel this week, so it's extra special for her to be here today!!!

In case you're unfamiliar with DiAnn and her writing, she is an incredibly gifted romantic suspense writer. The best things about her novels (in my opinion!) are that (1) her characters are realistic and tend to come to life through the pages of the story and (2) faith is always a central yet natural part of the story. In addition to writing her own novels, DiAnn spends a great deal of time mentoring other writers through conferences, critiques, editing, and writing courses.

Today, DiAnn is sharing with us how she writes "firecracker emotions" into her stories. As a reader, I always love getting the inside scoop on different writing techniques, so I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did. I'll let DiAnn take it from here ... (Be sure to read to the end for a special giveaway!)

Firecracker Emotions
by DiAnn Mills

We read novels because we become intimately involved in the characters’ lives. We plant our hearts into the characters and walk through the story with them. I loved every minute of writing Firewall. What a glorious adventure. My characters spent much of the novel involved in stress, tension, and conflict, which meant emotions were constantly in turmoil—raw and jagged. When the story was finished, I left a bit of myself with Taryn and Grayson, and I hope the reader will too. Ever wonder why the writer and reader get so involved in a story?

It’s all about developing firecracker emotions—the kind that pop, sizzle, and sparkle. According to Tonya Reiman in her book, The Power of Body Language, we have seven universal emotions: surprise, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, happiness, and contempt. These emotions are culturally the same. We writers do our best to show our characters experiencing all of them—and often.


How do we show these emotions? Let me phrase this another way. How do you show your emotions? Ah, gotcha there. Here are a few examples.

Body language is a huge giveaway for emotions. A few years ago a TV show titled “Lie to Me” depicted a quirky character who professionally interpreted body language. He could tell if a person was telling the truth or hiding something. He could identify specific feelings by concentrating on body language. A little scary, but true. Many of our emotions cannot be disguised unless we’ve been trained to mask them. Watch those around you to see if you can guess what they are feeling.

Actions propel emotions. That’s simple, but think about how you react when someone shows consideration or exhibits rude or aggressive behavior.

Color is a dynamic method of showing emotions. We all react instinctively to color. Take a moment to focus on the feelings symbolized by red, blue, green, yellow, purple, brown, pink, orange, black, white, and gray. Now take another look at the seven universal emotions and note how you felt about each color.  In Firewall, I used ice blue to show the color of Grayson’s eyes at a time when Taryn didn’t trust him.

Sensory perception is a standard measure for emotion. What we see, smell, taste, hear, and touch often guide our feelings. Add a memory and your feelings can explode! Taryn loved the aroma and taste of rich coffee. Grayson understood Taryn had been hurt deeply by another man, and he refrained from touching her until she could see he was sincere.

Word choices can make us feel a variety of feelings. Hard consonants create harshness while words that end in “y,” or have long vowel sounds, or soft consonants bring on welcomed responses. The words spoken with the deepest intensity are the ones we remember. Metaphors, a phrase or word that means something other than the meaning, can influence how we view others, ourselves, and situations. How a character speaks and thinks not only show the reader who he/she is, but the word choices reveal the inner person. 

Taryn and Grayson live in my heart as two people who were passionate about life and their unique purpose in life. I want my readers to step into their lives and experience an adventure with them.

What kind of emotions in stories reach out and grab you? Leave a comment here for a random drawing of Firewall. Drawing will take place on July 8. Be sure to leave an email address so we can contact you if you win!

About Firewall
After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

About DiAnn Mills
DiAnn Mills is a best-selling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also the Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and is the 2014 president of RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter.

She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

7 comments:

  1. When I am brought to tears in a book, whether happy or sad, I am hooked! I am totally absorbed in that read and I love it!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melanie, that's what we writers want! Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  2. I think when I read about fear or anger in a character or a scene, that stresses me out the most...in a good way! That means the author is conveying those emotions to me, the reader, very well. I've never read one of Ms. Mills' romantic suspense so I'd love to try one, thanks for the giveaway!
    garfsgirl [at] hotmail [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emotion in our characters keep us all engaged! Thanks for posting.

      Delete
  3. When I read a book that is full of emotion, it makes me get more into the book. I love it when I can feel what the people in the book are feeling. And it also makes me get closer to the Author.
    oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Danie, A writer wants a reader to feel those emotions too.

      Delete
  4. Don't know if my comment came through but I forgot my email addy: d_stevens310 @ live.com
    I really enjoy a book with lots of action!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! Thanks for letting me know what you think!

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