for writers and readers….
BIG EMOTIONS often fall flat on the page. Trying to evoke them through showing can fail to work any better. Tiptoeing down creaky stairs into a dark basement doesn’t necessarily instill fear. A dozen roses don’t automatically deliver love to our doorsteps. Flying bullets don’t cause our hearts to pump…
And yet we do feel strongly, sometimes, when we are reading fiction. Big feelings like dread, terror, joy, or love can be invoked in readers, but not by force. They are most effectively evoked by trickery. Stage magicians use misdirection to take their audiences by surprise. Emotional craft is similar. Artful fiction surprises readers with their own feelings.
Donald Maass in The Emotional Craft of Fiction