Emotional Context and Visual Writing Wins Every Time

If you’ve read the Working Writer’s Guide to Comics, you know it’s all about emotion.

You also know one of the most important elements to capture in a character based panel, is the character’s emotional mindset. Here’s why.

* Scott kneels in the mud laughing.

Got an image in your mind for that? Let’s add some emotional mindset to it.

* Scott kneels in the mud laughing with contempt.

Is that the picture you envisioned? Or does that drum up something different? What about:

* Scott kneels in the mud laughing nervously.

or

* Scott kneels in the mud laughing playfully.

or

* Scott kneels in the mud laughing overwhelmed with grief.

Just a word or two of the character’s emotional state changes everything. So it’s always important to get it in there.

The problem (and point of this article) is that many writer’s will use describing an emotional state too heavily, as a crutch to support the entire panel description. We all understand “laughing with joy” so many writers will rush ahead leaving it at that.

As potent as emotional states are, they do not compensate for “thin” panel descriptions (like all those above). Always write visually.

Rely on showing the character’s emotional state, rather than simply telling the artist how the character is feeling.

By actually explaining how the emotion is coming through, you’re adding details and any time you add details, you’ve got an opportunity to deepen the narrative.


About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S.  Visit NickMacari.com for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.

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