Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ethos, Pathos, Logos and Fiction Writing Pt. 2

We talked about the first element yesterday of Ethos. This is the connection you need to establish with the reader.

Again, in review, the more believeable you can make the characters, the more real they are, the more likely the readers will identify with the characters.

Today, we talk about Pathos.

In this model, Pathos deals with the emotional quality of things. When we are talking about fiction writing, and especially romance writing, it is crucial that the words work for the story and not against the story. We want to feel the characters pains and joy. We want to be immersed into the romance and the relationship.

The problem we often see with submissions though is that the voice and the passion is simply not there. Sure the storyline tells us the characters are falling for each other, but that is as far as the relationship goes. This is that issue you hear us always talking about when we say to show and don't tell.

Your job as a writer is to show us through thought, action and word what the characters are feeling. Don't just limit yourself to words and phrases that I refer to (after borrowing it from a poetry session I took) as V.B.O.' s. In this case, these are Vague Boring and Over-used phrases and words.

You can't simply use phrases and technique to duplicate that intense feeling of romance, or the pain of losing someone. To accomplish this, you really have to rely on many of the things the method actors use. Make yourself feel that way and then put it to words.

I will have to say, this is the hardest of the three to accomplish but really, one of the strongest tools in your arsenal of writing.

Tomorrow, the last element - LOGOS!


1 comment:

  1. Great advice, thanks Scott. I also like to consider diction an excellent tool for this. Using one word, hopefully a little less common, than another one that could have fit, can really convey emotion in a way that makes a reader empathize a little more. Or at least I hope it does.