Hello! I've been a fan of your blog for a long time now, and I would appreciate it if you could answer my question. My oc got taken into a household but two years later a maid from there has made papers to adopt him as her son (At this point he is 15) . My oc is very sensitive and emotional. How should I write this scene and describe his emotions without it getting too cheesy? Thank you!
Hi, dear! Thanks for your question and your patience <3
That sounds like such a sweet scene! I love strong family themes – especially adoption, because it sends such a strong message of hope and fresh beginnings. Those are good sentiments to focus on for this part of your story, and to use thematically with new phrases, new environments, and new plots. Be sure to make the reader feel like they’re entering into an exciting new chapter of your OC’s life!
But you do want to keep it from being melodramatic. I have a few tips for you to think about…
How to Write Emotional Scenes
- Don’t try to write too many emotions at once. Trying to capture the complex thought processes of something like adoption – fear, disbelief, excitement, self-assessment, assessment of potential parent, forming expectations – all at once will be as confusing for the reader as it is for the adoptee. Instead, try to focus on one or two strong emotions – maybe (1) his disbelief, feeling as though the adoptive parent will change their mind or that this is all a dream; and (2) self-assessment and adjustment, feeling insufficient or adjusting his own behavior to seem polite/perfect/desirable as a potential adoptee.
- Don’t tell when you can show. When a character feels a strong emotion, you shouldn’t have to use the word “felt” – you shouldn’t have to over-explain it. Instead, think of physical and verbal expressions of this emotion. If a character is afraid, don’t tell us he’s afraid – make him tremble or hug himself. If a character is happy, let him smile and laugh. If your character is excited to be adopted, have him show gratefulness, happiness, nervousness. But don’t say it.
- Less is more, especially in this kind of scene. Less dialogue, less setting description, and less setup in general – really just focus on the actions and whatever dialogue is most important. Keep it poignant and pointed. Even less seriousness and a little humor can help keep the scene light and not too dramatic.
- Be honest. Just think about how you would feel in that situation – and don’t lean too dramatic or too emotionless. Ask yourself, “Would I really say this in my head? Would I be this close/distant to someone this quickly?” Write the scene as best you can, and then later, when you’re not in the heat of the moment, assess your decisions.
- Get out quick. Avoid the mundane details or the aftermath of this emotional scene. Let the characters experience it, then start with something new in the next chapter. Dwelling on it too long ruins the magic!
That’s all I’ve got for you right now, but if you need more help, you know where to find us! Thanks again, and good luck :D
– Mod Joanna ♥️