You have completed an article draft, but it seems lifeless and flat, even at first read. It needs to have the much-needed spark that ignites that all-important warm connection to your readers, but you have no idea how to spice it up.
Adding life into a nonfiction article is challenging, notably if it doesn’t include an emotional storyline or a character.
If you have an article written from your own experience, maybe you have already included emotionally loaded language. Then all you really need to do is ask, “Does this piece have enough emotionally energized language to touch the people who will read them, to keep them reading, to pull them in, to move them to action or perhaps a conclusion?”
Why would you want to add emotion to a nonfiction piece? Adding emotion to your writing pulls the reader’s attention and helps them connect with the storyline. It gives the reader’s mind an adventure. An adventure is why people watch TV or go to movies.
Here is how you can Find the Emotion while writing your nonfiction article.
Start by determining what primary emotion you want the reader to understand or feel. Were you bothered about something, and it set off an article’s writing? Maybe you see a blunder and want to set the record straight or to share a different truth, one from your perspective. Is it spiritually based or compassion oriented? Maybe you want to convey a motivating or inspirational tone. Is it love that you want to capture in words? Love for a hobby or something you’re really passionate about.
You can pick the emotion you want before working on the first draft. Many writers, including me, prefer to add emotions during the first edit.
For a brief period, close your eyes and feel your inner self on your subject. Find the exact emotion, the ‘real’ tone, give it an adjective, and then write it in the article’s margin for quick access. If it’s a past experience (personal), think back to that time, carefully reconnect with that emotion. Did you feel affection, numbness, excitement, shame, anguish, remorse, guilt, pissed? How about feeling confused?
What did you smell, hear, see, touch, or even taste during the experience? If you didn’t experience what you are really writing about, are you in touch with someone who did? Ask them to talk about their emotions with you. Put precise words to those feelings. The taste language doesn’t inevitably have to be food-related either. Your lips could be rather dry. Your tongue can sadly taste like you just licked a stamp. Link the taste to something that you readers can co-relate because they have also experienced it. We’ve all licked a stamp (if you are from that golden era) sometime in our life and remember the dull icky, bad breath feeling it left on our tongue. My face is curling up just thinking about that taste.
Another way to locate the emotion is to relate the article, or topic, to music. Does it remind you of a waltz, foxtrot, rock and roll, R&B, jazz, what? It could even remind you of a special song. Can you remember the lyrics or access the song? Musical lyrics are great places to find emotional language and words.