The Importance of Emotions

or The Story Beneath the Story

Your prose can be seductively gorgeous, your hooks effective, your plot capably planned, your twists intriguing – but all of these effects fade if your reader isn't emotionally engaged. 

Isn't it almost embarrassing when a story has everything, but you just can't bring yourself to care about the characters? They're on the floor weeping and you're like meh because it wasn't earned.

Don't let that happen to your great novel!

You've all heard the adage show don't tell. Writers who espouse this advice tend to think that the character's page-turning experiences will serve as a metaphorical stand-in for how the character feels. But the real question isn't how can I get across what characters are going through? But rather how can I get the reader to go on an emotional journey of their own?

In this class we will dissect at length the various ways to achieve emotional clarity in your characters. We will talk about the pitfalls of representing emotions and the fall-backs of just telling them. We will work on some exercises on how to reach your audience's hearts, not just their heads. 

October 8th :: 6 - 8pm


Space is limited. To register for The Importance of  Emotions please email or call us or register online.

About this teaching artist:

Cathy Borders is the founder and Program Director of The Republic of Letters. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School in New York and a Bachelor’s in English literature and critical theory from the University of Iowa. She’s the author of A Suburb of Monogamy, an experimental novel about the invention, withdrawal, and body of a liaison. She also founded the micropress, Omnia Vanitas Review, and has been a professional editor for over a decade. She thinks of writing differently, as something much more interesting, much more important than a thing you produce for money. She’s been published in Madhatter’s Review, Ampersand Review, Green Lantern Press, and Reconfigurations, among others. She’s now working on her second novel, a young adult fantasy whose raison d'être is emotional clarity and connection, as well as a comprehensive book on using the tarot to write fiction. Her chapbook, Robin Williams Is My Uncle, is forthcoming from Analog Books. 

About the art:

Head of Medusa

Antonio Canova. 1801. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

From the Art Institute's webpage ::

"The great Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova dominated the artistic scene in Rome at the turn of the 19th century. This bust represents a partial study for his marble statue Perseus Holding the Head of Medusa (1797–1801). The face of Medusa, a monster from Greek mythology, had the power to petrify anyone who beheld it. Canova expressed the horror of Medusa’s appearance and her death throes in this decapitated head. The sculptor initially modeled the work in clay, subsequently making a plaster mold of it. This preserved the freshness and spontaneity of the model while conveying a surface similar to the finished marble."

The Republic of Letters NFP

RoL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

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Geneva, Illinois 60134