Great Screenplays Evoke Emotions

February 23, 2012

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For what other reason are you writing if it's not to provoke an emotional response from your audience? Hint #1: If you're writing a comedy, people should be laughing when they read the script.  During one of our intense focus groups for the development of our LitPro application, we gathered together script consultants – some who have been reading scripts professionally for decades. All agreed that if the script doesn't draw you in emotionally, neither will the dramatization (movie) of the material.

As avid moviegoers, screenwriters and co-founders of LitCentral, we put a lot of emphasis on writing a screenplay that emotionally resonates with the Reader. In fact, the LitPro application will provide toolsets to capture a Reader’s emotional response (or not), and provide a graphically-driven interpretation of the E-Beat (Emotional Beat) of the script. If your script can move a Reader emotionally, then there is a pretty sure bet the movie will evoke the same emotional response from the audience.

Karl Iglesias has defined emotions in stories as being voyeuristic (allowing audience to experience a character) and sympathize with them), vicarious (allowing audience to empathize with a character and identify with them, and visceral (primal emotions such as anticipation, relief, dread, suspense). He has also written a screenwriting book called Writing for Emotional Impact available at the Writers Store or instantly as an e-book.

William C. Martell explains emotions perfectly in his blog post on Script Secrets – The Write Place for Screenwriting Information.  His “Monday Script Tip” goes in-depth about creating “Emotion Pictures” vs. “Motion” pictures. It is a great read!


"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." ~ E.L. Doctorow

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

doveboY February 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Exactly, but not easily done.  Good article.


kevMO444 March 25, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Great article.  I agree totally with doveboY.  It's not an easy task but a necessary one if you are writing a great script.


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