Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#3
People express emotion in different ways, from outward anguish to withdrawal. Key is having developed enough depth in your character to predict, or at least seem sincere, in what their emotional reaction set will be.

From Theft of Stars.

Avery held the shivering, limp body of his sister close. It was as if she were not there at all, or as if Lucille's soul had abandoned her body to whatever fate and had fled. The tears that wracked her fell softly onto his hands and arms, and never, ever, had he felt more defeated and helpless. He turned her slowly to face him, and unable to stand any longer, lowered them both slowly to the ground. I should look for Daniel. I should...

He realized that not all the tears falling were hers.

Father Abrams hesitantly picked his way through the arbor, fruitlessly trying to wave away the stinging smoke still blowing across the field. Since he was a non-combatant, he had been left with the field transmitter just inside the periphery of the woodlands during the battle. He had seen, through the verdure, the launch of the missile and had heard the destruction visited on the Dome. This he dutifully reported to Diocullus via the device, and had decided in the following silence, to rejoin the others. He made out the forms of Avery and Lucille, and was working his way towards them.

Mr. Brown floated toward him from the launcher site, so he slowed at the entity's approach.

"We have recovered our Queen from the half-sphere-shaped construct, Father Abrams. The energy release vaporized the constructs confining her. We have educated her to the newest level of enlightenment we have achieved," vibrated Mr. Brown.

Father Abrams looked at the wavering Crusader (pending). "That's nice, Mr. Brown," said Abrams distractedly, "you must be pleased."  He continued on toward Avery and Lucille, a worried expression on his face.

"Many life patterns have discontinued at this location," noted Mr. Brown.

"That is the only real result of these kinds of activities, to my mind, Mr. Brown."

"These life patterns will continue elsewhere, Father Abrams?"

"That is our belief, Mr. Brown. But these lives were not allowed to fulfill their allotted destiny in this life, Mr. Brown, and that is a cause for deep sorrow."

"Is it not the will of our Maker?"

This brought father Abrams up short. He remembered that this wavering piece of trans-dimensional energy enclosed a thinking mind that had accepted the philosophy of the church.

"We are not compelled to follow enlightened ways. . .there must always be choice. What happened here is the result of many poor choices. Our mission is to bring others, and ourselves, to make better ones. We believe it is the will of our Maker that we accept responsibility for our actions and go on to make better choices. Bad choices affect us all, and rightly, if not happily, so. An English poet once noted, I paraphrase loosely, that we are all part of one whole, that if any individual be lost, we are all diminished. He chided us not to ask for whom the bell tolls, for it morns us all."

"I must meditate on this, Father Abrams."

"As well you should, my son, as well you should."

The Priest now closed on the decimated Avery and his sister. He drew in a deep breath at the sight of the young body before the pair, and knelt, crossing himself.

Avery focused his tear-blurred eyes on the priest. "My sister Lucille's husband...Daniel. I saw him fall. He....Could..." it was all Avery could say.

Father Abrams nodded and leaned forward, gently taking the shoulders of Lucille and pulling her to him. "Go and see if you can find him, my son. I will stay with Lucille."

Avery stood and walked to the place Daniel had fallen, sank to his knees, and did not rise again for a long and painful time.
Mr. Brown vacillated over the deceased boy for a moment. Then he floated to the launcher. There was a rending crack, and the entire vehicle disappeared. Suddenly there were thousands of blurs, all in a line, that stretched straight as a surveyor's transit might define as far as the eye could see.The line moved swiftly across the inhabited lands, and no weapon of any kind survived their passage. Then they vanished.

***


Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#4
By not focusing so much on showing emotion alone.

The moment needs to be designed for them. It's less, how to I show an emotional connection between two characters and more on how these characters form an emotional connection between each other. Each character can be different in how they act in the same situation. 

Trying to force it along in being cute, or making the reader feel something, or whatever isn't going to come out right. You steer the scene by your characters. The more developed your characters are, the easier it is to write something like this. 

And then there is also the other side of this, maybe you are trying to show something that can be better conveyed another way. Because, in my opinion, showing two characters forming a connection with each other takes times especially if you are dealing with a character who isn't quick to let their guard down. Sometimes the pay-off with such things is shown over time than trying to shove it all in a single scene.

Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#5
in my experience, there are 2 ways to make a reader feel emotion, either by making him sympathize or immersed with the characters so any emotion that charterer feel, will be felt by the reader, or to let the reader understand the situation and background so when the triggering event happens,the reader will fill it himself.
in my experience, what makes things feel cheesy is trying actually describe emotions or how the charterer looks feeling them, instead of just letting the reader actually feel them.

also, if we are talking on forging connections between characters, then in my experience, the best way to do so, is letting the characters start to understand 2 things:
1) that they think the same way - aka they understand that if one of them would be in the same situation, with the same information, they would take the same action.
2) have the same goals, even if only one can of them can achieve them, or similar goals, or goals that in order to accomplished, both of them needed to be either accomplished together, or that for either one of them to happen, then the other will also happen.

i hope this helps you as much as possible

Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#6
I agree with the emperor's two points -- the character's need to have similar thoughts and goals. but that is not always enough to generate a romantic between people. In fact, many couples would agree that they do NOT think alike, but have similar goals, or they DO think alike, but their goals are different. 

Compatibility is the key. So is trust and honesty. Myself personally, I often have my characters pursue a mate who has goals and ambitions of their own, or who thinks about things in a different way. I mean, if both you and your mate are able to do certain things that the other cannot do, then both of you can look up to and admire the other, as each of you carries an enviable trait that the other wishes they had. 

So I think besides similar thoughts and similar goals -- of which at least one of these two must be shared by both characters -- to avoid not having your story take a turn down Cheesy Street, you need to have an Inciting Incident. What writers call a Spark. 

Inciting Incidents in a story -- oftentimes called Sparks -- are sudden scenes that do one of two things. Either they are a Big Surprise that the reader doesn't see coming (Wow! They like each other. I didn't expect that!), or they answer a Burning Question that the reader has had for a very long time (Yes! I knew it! He chose her as his girl.) Most importantly, a good Spark moves the story along (Okay! That's settled. Now let's get on to something else!)

A good Spark to use to ignite a Romantic Interest between two characters in your story is to have a scene where the similar Thought (Yes! She believes in God, like me!) or the similar Goal (Oh! He also wants to have babies?!?) is suddenly revealed to one of the characters by something the other character does or says. Another good example of a Romantic Spark is when one of the characters does something or says something that is truly amazing, causing the second character simply flat out pop the question. 'Hey. I think you're amazing. We should try going out together. What do you say? Yes or no?' 

And of course the other character chooses to say, 'Yes.' 😸

Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#7

ArDeeBurger Wrote: I agree with the emperor's two points -- the character's need to have similar thoughts and goals. but that is not always enough to generate a romantic between people. In fact, many couples would agree that they do NOT think alike, but have similar goals, or they DO think alike, but their goals are different. 

Compatibility is the key. So is trust and honesty. Myself personally, I often have my characters pursue a mate who has goals and ambitions of their own, or who thinks about things in a different way. I mean, if both you and your mate are able to do certain things that the other cannot do, then both of you can look up to and admire the other, as each of you carries an enviable trait that the other wishes they had. 

So I think besides similar thoughts and similar goals -- of which at least one of these two must be shared by both characters -- to avoid not having your story take a turn down Cheesy Street, you need to have an Inciting Incident. What writers call a Spark. 

Inciting Incidents in a story -- oftentimes called Sparks -- are sudden scenes that do one of two things. Either they are a Big Surprise that the reader doesn't see coming (Wow! They like each other. I didn't expect that!), or they answer a Burning Question that the reader has had for a very long time (Yes! I knew it! He chose her as his girl.) Most importantly, a good Spark moves the story along (Okay! That's settled. Now let's get on to something else!)

A good Spark to use to ignite a Romantic Interest between two characters in your story is to have a scene where the similar Thought (Yes! She believes in God, like me!) or the similar Goal (Oh! He also wants to have babies?!?) is suddenly revealed to one of the characters by something the other character does or says. Another good example of a Romantic Spark is when one of the characters does something or says something that is truly amazing, causing the second character simply flat out pop the question. 'Hey. I think you're amazing. We should try going out together. What do you say? Yes or no?' 

And of course the other character chooses to say, 'Yes.' 😸



nice comment, but pay attention that the OP is writing about a connection and not romance. this are 2 VERY different things (they can be together bt they are not the same),

and since i am arguing that, i might as well give my take regarding romance:

romance is composed of several underlying things for the romance to feel real, and good:
1) attraction - the desire to understand someone you dont
2) comfort - actually felling comfortable around that person, because you understand him. (connection is something that generate comfort, but not the only one)
this two can exist simultaneously, and comfort is the reward of answering one of the million questions in the subconscious on the other person.
3) feeling special - why me? why not someone else? what makes her stay instead of jumping on the next better thing? to make the reader feel that this couple is feeling each other special, you need to make them feel that they were chosen by the partner, and not just because of their looks.
4) overcoming past residues - at a certain point in the development of the romance, residues from the past will start to come up, and it will need to be showed that this time it will be ok (if you watched Re:zero, think on rem pep talk in that famous episode)
5)actually moving forward - this is why i dont like harem novels. (not that i object their existence , they actually need to be good to be worth reading, like the story on this site sexy space babes)

Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#8
My answer to that would be banter and drama in the form of dialogues. I like showing my characters taking jabs at each other. Here are a few examples that might give you some inspiration.

1) Master and student

Quote:“Teacher, it’s me! Open up!”
No one answered. The possibility of her master being out with the crowd popped in her mind, but she hurriedly brushed it away. She knew him far too well.

“Master, your life will shorten, if you keep waking up so late!” she yelled and this time her foot landed on the poor door.

Inside the house, something crashed. Then a window on the upper floor flung out with a bang and a mane of pure white hair peeked outside.

“Who is this ungrateful disciple cursing her master to death?” The shrill voice of an old man rang in the narrow street.

“Don’t be angry, teacher, or you’ll get even more wrinkles.” Lorelei chuckled and waved her hand happily. “It was you who said that I must wake you up before noon today at all costs.”

2) Lord and page


Quote:“I am so sorry, master. She ran away. I never thought a shrew could run so fast.”
“Watch your tongue, Jess,” growled the man and threw his page a stern look, to which the boy just puffed his cheeks.

“But she is simply a maid, master.”

“And this simple maid was the one that dressed my wounds, while you were idling gods know where.”

“Goodness! What did that stupid wench do!?”

Jessup almost jumped up and hurried towards his master, his face full of worry. Just as he knelt down a large hand clasped around his mouth, lifting up his chin. Two stern gray eyes bored into his, sending shivers down his spine.

“Say, Jessup, should I wash this filthy mouth of yours with soap, since you are so persistent?”

“Sowy, my wowd! It wownt hwappen agwain!!”

The hand let go and the boy breathed heavily for a second. Then worry returned to his face. [...]
[...]
“Women shed tears, Jess. Men endure. Tears won’t bring back the dead. Heads up. We’ll be sailing back home soon. Now go wash yourself up and eat something. I need you as fit as possible. Tonight, we are participating in the celebrations.”
“I thought you hated banquets, master?” The boy stood up obediently and dried his face with his sleeve.

“I do. But courtesy requires it tonight. Besides, this time I will participate, even if only to spoil my dear brother’s digestion. Now go. And tell the men that I am alive and fine before they start swarming this place. I swear, if anyone disturbs me before evening, I’ll beat the living soul out of him.”

“But, master,” the boy chuckled, wiping his runny nose, “I don’t think you can even lift a finger right now.”

“Can’t I now?” The man scooped a handful of water and splashed it at his mouthy page, who shrieked and darted away. At the door, the boy turned around and bowed.

“Lord Noah, I’ll bring you a set of suitable clothes later, so please spare my soul at least.”

3) Close friends


Quote:“Noah! By the Gods, please tell him! He wants to cut my leg! Please, my lord!”
Noah knelt beside him and took his shaking hand. He then lifted the blanket a bit. The sight was ghastly. He covered him again and sighed deeply.

“I am sorry, Gregor. If he does not do this, you will die.”

“I would rather die than live as a cripple. Please!” Tears started running down the man’s face.

“But you have a wife and a child. Think about them.”

“If I am gone, Saya can re-marry; my spirit can watch over her and Soraishu from the Spirit Plane!" His free hand clenched around the small green pendant hanging from his neck that was giving off a slight red shimmer. "If I survive a cripple, I’ll be a burden to her for the rest of her life! Please, Noah, please, my lord, let me die, but don’t take my leg!”

Heart tearing apart, Noah’s jaw clenched. He shook his head firmly.

“I won’t allow your death, Gerash. Help me hold him down.”

“NO!”

Oh, and I would recommend this chapter as another good example of how to establish character connections. I don't feel it comes out cheesy, but if you think otherwise, please share your thoughts.

Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#9
From my thinking about this sort of thing,

The difference between Cheesy, and Romantic (or emotional) is one of perception and receptivity. I mean most lines you think of as cheesy in romcoms are the exact same thing you'd say to be romantic. Same tone, same delivery, same same. Near as I've ever been able to tell.

I think several emotions run though this kind of section. Cringy Eginess VS Cool. Its just a matter of perception. Those were the first two that came to mind. So I don't think you can write in such a way a few people won't find it cheesy. Just my two cents

Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#10
Relationships are funny things. They say that opposites attract. Compatibility can take several turns. Some need from the other balancing features they do not themselves possess, perhaps. I would find it difficult to put an actual finger on some exact formula that builds such things. I suppose if there was one, that would be the definition of cheese, or at least get listed as droll.  I would suggest experimenting advice free until you hit the recipe for each encounter that sets the right tone.

Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#11
At the risk of sounding cheesy: Don't try to make it emotional, just let it be emotional. Or, don't try to force this scene to be 'emotional' or 'profound' or anything like that, just write it the best you can, and try to transport the emotions you yourself feel into the writing. In my experience, some of the best emotional scenes are when you as the authors are really swept along by the emotion.
Not always, of course, and it's just as difficult to force yourself to feel emotional. But try to put yourself into the head of the characters who are affected by what's going on, and go from there.

Re: How do I make an emotional scene not be cheesy?

#12
Look closer at FaHYATT's example in his first post there.  It's the speed that makes it emotional.  The author slowed down the pace to a crawl.  If you want emotional, you have to slow down the pace.  Describe every action because every action is important.  There's no point in which a human's body language is more telling than when something emotional happens.  

Did the protagonist hold someone? Wipe away their tears? Reach out to them? Was their mouth gaping or closed?  Was their fist clenched?  Arms crossed?  etc

Most authors on RR are used to writing in this extremely glossed over manner where they summarize everything.  Which is why almost nothing has emotional punch to it.