If we are going to write engaging and relevant Christian stores for children and teens, we need to be able to express deep emotions in the characters we create.

boy walking

Some of us are afraid of showing our emotions. Most of us are afraid of showing our true emotions to at least some people, and rightly so – as we have matured as people we have learnt what is socially acceptable. Others of us are terrible at expressing our emotions to our nearest and dearest, and even ourselves.

Here’s an exercise for you to do that you need never show to anyone, to help you get your emotions out into words. Write freely without editing for at least ten minutes on the following topics (if you find it too difficult to write in the first person, write as if a narrator is watching you):

  • A time when you were frightened
  • A time when you were truly happy
  • A time of deep disappointment
  • A time you were filled with love
  • A time when you were filled with anger
  • A time you felt totally helpless
  • A time you laughed until you cried
  • A time you felt sadness/grief.

Don’t pick the easiest topic – pick the most difficult! Write freely about how you felt. Be totally honest. You can use “unsuitable” language as nobody need see what you have written. Be free to let all your emotions run out of yourself on to the page – spit it out! Write about the unfairness, the rage, the delirious joy, the terrible feeling that things might never change, things that were said. Write about the people who helped you and the people who made things worse for you (and maybe what you would have liked to do to them). How did your emotions affect you physically? Write how long the feelings lasted and how it has affected you since. Write how you feel about these memories now. Leave nothing out!

If your characters can express depth of emotion in your stories, they will be able to engage your readers at an emotional level. They might even be able to help them. That terrible or wonderful experience you have been through might be an enormous help to a new generation of readers. “Someone understands” is a wonderful feeling.



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