Hey there! I am a writer struggling a little bit with the emotions of the plot. I have five protagonist and I want to show how they are facing so many challenges and breaking down. I have events planned out to show their great friendship too, which is wholesome. But most of the major events impacting the internal conflict are sad. Their life is wrenched and that is what is happening. I have to show how the particular year made them face so many hardship. I will build the emotion I want but the story would just be too sad. There are 3-4 side characters but the story revolves around only the main characters and it cant leave them; that is not being able to show a different emotion than sad. How do I balance when I want to actually show they are constantly being thrown into sorrow but not let readers get bored or disappointed with just one emotion? A comic relief would just add a bunch of chaos in the story neither do my characters have time for that.
Hmm…good question, Anon.
First, I want to point out that it’s totally okay for your book to be really sad. As long as the loss and the grief means something more than just an emotional rollercoaster…then I think you should write what you want to write! Don’t feel the need to make your book happy because you don’t think your reader will like it. That being said, below is some advice for taking the focus off the sadness and putting it on different emotions.
Now I have a question for you: why is every pov sad? What I mean is, what are your characters doing? Are they being active or reactive? Are they working towards a goal and are they dealing/coping with their challenges? or are they dwelling in the sadness? Don’t get me wrong, you can totally show someone’s inability to deal with a challenge, but I’m guessing that you don’t that for every pov. So #1: make sure your characters are working towards a goal. Your character should be doing something and causing events; events shouldn’t just be happening to them. That should prevent the reader from constantly feeling the sad vibes and focus more on what’s at stake and what the characters are learning from their challenges.
#2: Write the little moments. You said your povs form a friendship, right? That’s perfect! If you want to take a break from the more negative emotions, write some scenes that get personal between your characters. Let them have fun together! Let them make inside jokes or dare the other one to do something stupid or something fluffy like that. Now, you might be thinking that these scenes won’t advance your plot but that doesn’t have to be true! Allowing your characters to get to know each other can 100% influence events in your storyline and make for some excellent character development.
#3: Make sure you know your emotions. Is every pov sad or is one hopeless? The other tired, exhausted? Angry? Distressed? Scared, in pain? All of these are negative, but they’re not all “sad”. Your reader is less likely to get burnt out if the each character is feeling a different type of emotion, so make sure you know exactly what your character is feeling and to describe each character’s emotions uniquely and distinctly. That being said, every one of those negative emotions has a positive opposite. Hopeful, energized, content, at peace, fearless. If one character is exhausted, maybe balance it out by making them also feel some hope every now and then. If another character is angry, maybe they’re also energized and fearless.
I hope this helps and inspires you to write some more! Your story sounds interesting and I hope you continue writing it. Who knows, maybe I’ll even see it on a bookshelf some day?? ;)