Allen Eskens shows us how to evoke emotions in our writing

The Interview – Part II
Scroll down to read Part I

What’s your writing process like?
First, I do a thorough outline and there is no specific pattern for that as it is more daydreaming and jotting notes than it is actual writing. But when I sit down to write, I try to get 5000 words a week. I also think it is important to edit those 5000 words to make them sing as much as possible before moving on the next 5000 words. Once I have a first draft, I break the book into sections and revise. For example, in my next novel The Heavens MayFall, (due out on Oct. 4) I tell the story from the points of view of two co-protagonists (Max Rupert and Boady Sanden from The Life We Bury). So in revision, I break the story into each character’s chapters and revise them individually to make sure that I am satisfied with the character arc of each. Then I put them together and revise the novel as a whole.
Character development is very important to you as a writer, and part of why your work is so engaging. What advice can you give writers to help them develop their characters into fully formed people with rich inner lives and backstory?
I think character development is about making the character relatable to the reader. The more the reader can associate with the character, the more the reader will feel what the character is feeling. Give the character problems that the reader understands. Almost everyone understands loneliness or being in debt or anxiety over the future. The writer doesn’t need to make these central to the character, but when the character has to struggle with these problems, they become more real to the reader. Give the characters a past, even if it doesn’t all make it on to the page. I, as the author, know that past and it will influence the motivations and decisions of the character during the story. 
What are you working on now?
I am working on my fourth book (as of yet untitled). It is the last book in a three-book arc for Max Rupert and is all about Max seeking revenge—something that Max would have been incapable of doing at the beginning of the three-book arc. His character has moved from being a boy scout in TheGuise of Another to being a man who could contemplate a cold blooded execution in the final book of his journey.
Final Words of Wisdom:                                                                                                                                        My final word of wisdom is “EVOKE”. I believe that being a writer is more than telling a story. I believe we writers should use our talents to evoke emotion in the reader through the telling of a story. From the very beginning of my outline process I ask myself: where is the personal story? What do I want the reader to feel as the story unfolds? Can I make it so that this story stays with them emotionally after the last chapter? That is really the hardest part about being a writer, and it is the most satisfying part when I hit the mark. A writer may not meet that goal every time or to the extent they hope for, but they should shoot for it every time.

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.