Meet Bob. Bob’s a factory worker. He screams in rage.

Did you feel what Bob feels? Did you feel the least bit angry? No. Because you don’t know Bob or why he’s angry. Let’s try again.

Meet Bob. Bob’s a factory worker. He has just learned he’s been fired. He shakes his fist toward the building and screams obscenities in rage.

Only slightly better, but in all honesty, we couldn’t care less. Knowing why Bob’s angry doesn’t change all that much.

Now, I could tell you a story about why Bob is the kindest, most generous guy you’ve met. He looks after his mother and doesn’t deserve to be fired, and still, you wouldn’t feel his rage. That’s because your emotions aren’t in sync with Bob’s.

Extreme emotional states tend to disrupt rather than enhance the stories I worked on.

Your readers are people who, in the moment of reading, sit on a chair, a toilet, or public transportation. I.e., they are calm enough to have reached for something to read.

Emotions like rage, despair, euphoria, terror, or any other from the extreme end of the spectrum, are so far out from whatever the reader is feeling at the moment that they are unable to put themselves in your character shoes.

The trick is to work your way up slowly and gradually. Get your readers in sync with your characters first.

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