Tag Archives: Emotion

Without You

This week I was treated to a massive dose of sanity threatening emotional issues.  Some were happening in real life, the rest happened in two of my favorite fandoms.  I won’t bore you with my real life issues that involve being pregnant and having to move.  However, I was rather surprised by the strength of my reaction to two different story plots.  It led me to wonder what causes us readers to become so emotionally invested in characters that we weep over them as though they were real.

The first thing I realized was that each story line was excellently crafted, the characters expertly fleshed out and realistic.  The fact that both subplots that emotionally devastated me were romantic ones is nothing short of ironic.  I am not a romantic person.  Ask anyone who knows me personally.  Typical romances bore me to tears.

So how did these characters manage to drag me into the narrative and hold me there over months?  Lets look at them.

Let Your Light Shine

First I will discuss Green Lantern: The Animated Series since that was the first blow to hit last Saturday when the final episode aired. Just the fact it was cancelled after one season was harsh enough.  Then I had to deal with the tragedy that was affectionately referred to by fans as Razaya.

Razer and Aya

Over the course of the season we watched Razor grow and change and fall in love with the ship’s AI, Aya.  Both characters started out seemingly one dimensional but very quickly we were treated to various aspects of their personalities.  Razor grew from being the angry Red Lantern to a multidimensional, complex and conflicted individual.  Aya quickly went from the ship’s navigation computer to a full fledged member of the team.  Both made misjudgments  said things that were taken wrong and just generally where adorable together.  All you have to do is search Tumblr for the tag #Razaya to see how much the fans loved this pairing.

There was a lot to love about it.  It was realistically portrayed and organically developed over the length of the series.  Even the creators were surprised at how loved the two became.  So how did they achieve it?

More on that in a moment.  Now on to the second source of my woe.

Never Let You Go

As many of you know, I am a huge Transformers fan and have been reading the current IDW Publishing series Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye.    The past Wednesday the newest issue, #15, was released.  I had been dreading this issue.  Mostly because I knew the happy times were over and things were going to get bad.  People were going to die. And they did.  Horribly in some cases and horribly tragic in others.  (If you have not read the series, please go do so as from here on there will be major spoilers.  You can find the entire run on Comixology.)

One pairing I’ve spoken about before, Chromedome and Rewind pretty much took center stage this issue.  Mostly due to Chromdome’s involvement in the accidental release of the unstoppable and extremely deadly Overlord.  In a scant thirty minutes the entire crew of the Lost Light is subjected to his murderous rampage.  He is only slowed when Rhodimus utters a trip phrase that Chromedome had implanted in his subconscious.  Fortress Maximus, having been released from the brig by Rung, drags Overlord back to the temporal prison he’d escaped from.  It is at this time that Chromedome decides that having the Phase Sixer anywhere near them, even in a prison cell, is too close and goes to jettison the cell.  Except a sword is preventing the mechanism from closing.  Rewind, Chromedome’s life partner, sacrifices himself to get the doors closed and ends up trapped in the cell, floating in space with Overlord.

The phrase that will come back to haunt Chromedome forever.

It’s at this point that Chromedome realizes that Overlord is going to kill Rewind in the slowest and most painful way possible and does the only thing he can think of to spare his lover any more pain.

This panel still makes me tear up.  These two had a very long history together, had been by each other’s sides when they faced death, fought together, with each other and generally behaved like any other loving married couple.  The writer, James Roberts, skillfully wove their relationship into the narrative while developing their personalities and backstory.

Forever and Always

In both of these cases the writers took great pains to make sure the characters were realistic and relatable  None of the characters are human.  Yet we the reader/viewer find ways to identify with them.  Maybe it’s Razor’s rage and inability to control it or Aya’s need to be accepted as her own person.  Or it could be Chromedome’s desire to be useful.  Or even Rewind’s desperation to keep Chromedome safe and healthy when his line of work is so dangerous and mentally detrimental.  It could be all or none of these things.  Either way, most of us have faced something similar at some time in our life and it is by tapping into this that the writers help us to understand and sympathize with the characters.

They created people, not just characters.  Each of them had their own motivations, goals, dreams and flaws.  They each acted and reacted according to what happened around them, just as we all do.  They had emotional, sometimes visceral reactions that ended up leading them to make wrong and in two cases, deadly choices.

We as writers must always strive to give our reader as much emotional input as possible in our stories.  It would be a disservice to our readers to do other wise.  We owe it to them to help them not just empathize, but sympathize with our characters.  Too laugh and cry along with them.  In doing so we build not just an artificial world, but a reader who is capable of much greater sympathy out in the real world.

Your Happy vs. My Happy

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” 
― Ernest Hemingway


I recently wrote a story, a fanfiction in the one fandom I will actually write for.  It had a rather dark theme and one I myself feel very passionately about.  In it a certain character, one I identify very closely with due to our similar personalities and overall way of dealing with others, faces an ordeal.  He has something forced on him. Something most people equate with pleasure and happiness.  He had never experienced it, never realized that such a thing existed.  The experience leaves him traumatized and questioning himself and his relationships with everyone around him.


He had been fine with the way things were but others around him couldn’t comprehend that.  They didn’t understand that he was happy.  His own version of happy, not theirs.  His happiness was contentment.  Their happiness was fleeting, a simple emotion.  His contentment was a state of being.  Now that is not to say that he didn’t suffer from stress, anger, doubt or all the other emotions that plague intelligent life, but his contentment mitigated a lot of it from ruling him.


Even his best friend didn’t understand this, thinking that his reluctance to join in after hours parties with co-workers or his penchant for remaining solitary meant he was depressed.  There were further misunderstandings due to their differences in communicating.  His speech tended toward formal, with a large vocabulary.  His friends were more colorful and colloquial. This lead people who didn’t know him to assume he was snobbish.  Even his work ethic set him apart from others.  He enjoyed his job and was excellent at it, yet was never satisfied with himself or the results, he always pushed himself to try harder and do better.  Other people never understood it and would tell him he was making them look bad.  It wasn’t his intention to do so, he simply wanted to do his very best.


True some of the disconnect was partly his fault.  He didn’t attempt to understand why his friend and their co-workers enjoyed what they did, the same as they didn’t try to understand what made him happy.


In my story it resulted in a terrible thing being done to him in an effort to get him to ‘lighten up.’  This is not a far-fetched or even foreign concept.  I cannot count how many times I’ve been forced to go places or do things I take no joy in simply because it is considered ‘normal’ to do so.  I do not need constant stimuli to be happy.  In fact it exhausts me and makes me grumpy.  I like to enjoy pleasurable events as much as any other person, but my psyche likes to take the time to absorb the experience, to revel in it, to pick it apart moment by moment.  forcing me to move from one thing to the next without time to absorb leaves me reeling and off balance.


Many people don’t understand this.  At a party I will either sit quietly and listen or only engage 1-2 people in conversation.  I am perfectly content with this.  My lovely sister on the other hand simply must talk to everyone in the room.  She loves it.  It would send me into a dark room to gather my wits.  After many years I’ve finally discovered why.  Its because I devote my whole being to the person I’m currently speaking with.  To do that with each and every person at the party is beyond exhausting.  This is not saying my sister is shallow, she is far-far from it.  She simply has a different way of assessing and communicating with people.


This leads me back to what equates to happiness.  Happiness is as individual as the person experiencing it.  It is an emotion and everyone has their own reasons for feeling them, whether they understand them or not.


 “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”


Viktor Frankl  Man’s Search for Meaning


 Constantly searching for the elusive emotion of happiness can blind us to our contentment.  Being content equates to being satisfied, understanding that our attitude shapes our happiness in the moment.


I’m not finished with my story yet, so I am not entirely sure how he is going to recover from what happened.  Or if he can.  Some things, once experienced can never be purged, they have to be assimilated into our being, into our contentment as we gain a better understanding of self.


So don’t be content to just be happy.  It won’t last and you’ll be left struggling to find it once again.  Find your contentment, your meaning, then happiness will find you.