Unspoken Emotions in Fiction writing

Unspoken Emotions in Fiction writing
Generated by Midjourney

There's a moment in the book, The Hackers, where a real human moment occurs during an epic about Hackers and Sentient AI.

‌Instead of explaining it to you, having no idea what I'm referring to, let's take a look at it first:

Warning! spoiler

Wren started, her voice determined. “I recently connected with Eli, my brother, who sought my help in exposing an ecological disaster involving the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve been torn between my loyalty to him, my respect for Beth, and the trust I have in this team”.

You learn early that Wren and her brother Eli, from the prologue, are estranged. Inevitably that lines up a reunion.

The difficulty to even have the reunion was a massive emotional test, but that pales in comparison to the choices Wren faces as a consequence. So in this moment, to break to her friends and family, the emotional element of her huge secret, was beyond difficult.

It was only possible due to support, safety, and realisation that she was a good person, with pure intentions.

Fear of how people, mostly those closest to us, will judge us - can often hold us back, prevent our emotional progress. Which can last longer than the trauma we hide from them, or the internal anguish we feel holding onto our secrets.

Neither Wren or any of her friends and family acknowledge verbally the magnitude of this revelation, or how strong Wren was to face it, and come out the other side a better person having gone through her trials.

As an author you're constantly 'corrected' by editor's, other Authors give you their experiences as advice, and they all tend to expect the dialogue of the characters to do the storytelling. The most common phrase goes something like:

Show, don't tell readers the plot.

This one line and the surrounding silence or indirect dialogue of empathy is the best I could imagine to "show" readers through dialogue some of the most climatic emotions of my protagonist.

How might you have tackled this challenge?

Available on Amazon in eBook and paperback!

The Hackers is a gripping novel that explores the interconnected lives of Eli and Wren Fitzpatrick, two siblings deeply entrenched in the world of technology. Eli is an hacktivist fighting for environmental justice, while Wren is a skilled social engineer navigating the ethical boundaries of her craft.

As the epic journey begins, the boundaries between right and wrong blur as Wren navigates the complex world of cyber warfare. With her meticulous planning and attention to detail, Wren must confront her own personal demons while combating the ever-present dangers lurking in the digital realm.

Buy eBook // Paperback

I caught up with a friend who is a student of psychology, and asked them to analyse this passage - to see if I was expressing what I hoped. Here's the response:

The passage delves into the emotional turmoil experienced by Wren, the protagonist, as she grapples with conflicting loyalties and emotions. This internal struggle not only adds depth to her character but also serves as a catalyst for the narrative's development. Let's break down the emotional significance of the passage:

  1. Loyalty to her brother, Eli: Wren's connection with Eli represents a deep bond of family loyalty. Eli's plea for help in exposing an ecological disaster tugs at Wren's heartstrings, as she feels a sense of duty towards him. This loyalty creates a strong emotional foundation for Wren's actions and decisions throughout the story, emphasizing the importance of familial connections.
  2. Respect for Beth: Beth is likely an important figure in Wren's life, someone whom she deeply respects. This respect could stem from their shared experiences, friendship, or even a mentor-student relationship. Wren's respect for Beth creates an emotional conflict, as she finds herself torn between her loyalty to her brother and the potential consequences of betraying Beth's trust. This conflict highlights the complexities of relationships and showcases Wren's internal struggle.
  3. Trust in the team: Wren's mention of trust in the team suggests that she has developed a bond with her comrades, forming a tight-knit group. This trust carries emotional weight, as it signifies the importance of their collective mission and the support system they provide for one another. Wren's internal conflict adds an additional layer of vulnerability, as her decisions have the potential to impact not only her own emotional well-being but also the dynamics within the team.

The point about Eli was spot on, but beside the point in my mind.

So what was the ana post-reading I hear you asking, well I wondered too! This is the revised version:

The passage delves into the profound emotional turmoil experienced by Wren, the protagonist, as she grapples with conflicting loyalties and the burden of a deep secret. This internal struggle not only adds complexity to her character but also serves as a catalyst for the narrative's development. Let's examine the emotional significance of the passage, with a particular focus on Wren's feelings:

  1. Loyalty to her brother, Eli: Wren's connection with Eli represents an unbreakable bond of family loyalty. When Eli seeks her help in exposing an ecological disaster, Wren's heart is torn between her allegiance to him and her own inner conflict. The weight of this loyalty intensifies the emotional significance of her actions and decisions, as she feels a profound responsibility towards her brother and his cause.
  2. Respect for Beth, her Aunt and mentor: Beth holds significant roles in Wren's life as both her Aunt and mentor. Wren's deep respect for Beth amplifies the emotional complexity she experiences. She values Beth's guidance and cherishes their relationship, making it exceedingly challenging for her to confront the secret that she is about to reveal. The fear of disappointing or betraying Beth deepens the emotional significance of Wren's struggle, adding layers of guilt and inner turmoil.
  3. The burden of a secret: Wren's mention of a secret she carries highlights the immense weight she bears. This secret, undisclosed at this point, represents a significant trial or hardship that Wren has endured. By keeping it hidden, she shields herself from potential judgment or rejection. The emotional significance lies in the profound difficulty she faces in exposing this secret, as it requires vulnerability and the risk of shattering the trust and image she has carefully constructed.

In essence, the passage magnifies Wren's internal turmoil and the emotional hurdles she must overcome. The conflict between loyalty to her brother, respect for her Aunt and mentor, and the burden of her secret creates an intricate emotional landscape. Wren's decision to reveal her secret becomes an act of tremendous courage, as it involves exposing her vulnerabilities and potentially facing the consequences of her actions. This emotional depth not only adds richness to Wren's character but also engages readers, inviting them to empathize with her journey of self-discovery and the difficult choices she must make.

Thank you for supporting me, and I look forward to taking you on an exhilarating ride through the Sentinel Unleashed series and beyond.

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