Emotion 1: Emotional cause and effect

Emotional cause and effect


Quick recap: what have we learned in this section?

Before we started this section we had established that:

  • Character emotions help us understand the meaning of events in a story.
  • Different emotions imply different meanings, because each emotion has a different job.
  • Emotions also help us understand what characters want and value.

With this latest section we've gone deeper:

  • Emotions are not just reactions, they are also the cause of behaviour and events.
  • Emotions and behaviour work in a continual loop.
  • A basic version of the loop is trigger > emotion > behaviour.
  • Given that emotions are composed of physical feelings and mental thoughts, an expanded version of the loop is trigger > feeling > thought > emotion > behaviour.
  • One loop leads to another: behaviour creates a new trigger, which starts a new loop.
  • One character's behaviour is often another character's trigger—so how you describe a loop depends on whose point of view you're taking.

Here's the expanded version of the emotion-behaviour loop for your reference:

Diagram showing trigger feeling thought emotion behaviour in a continual loop


Let's pull all this together with a rewrite that focuses on a chain of emotion-behaviour loops and multiple points of view.

Like what you see?

You’re not logged in!

If you want to save your writing, login and either assign this lesson to yourself or access it via your class.