Are there resources (books, blogs...) which describe proven techniques to obtain certain effects? For example: you will obtain this effect if you use the first person, effective ways to describe fear, doubt, exhaustion, love... are the following.

7 Answers 7


Writers read. We read lots of things in order to learn from our betters how they do what they do. Read the instructional blogs and books, but being a reader who picks apart stories and sentences to see how they achieve their effects will provide better, more inspiring, instruction.

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    I believe you have it. While there might be a manual out there somewhere, the first place to go is to find authors who achieved what you want to. Figure out how they did it, and copy and paste (the technique, that is). Rinse and repeat. Aug 30, 2016 at 22:53

Yes and no.

Yes: There are heaps of resources to explain how to do pretty much anything in writing.

No: The world changes and humans change faster. What worked once might not work later, and a technique that might be used to great effect now could be a tired cliche in a few years. Plus your readers will all be different. The first time I read the twist that the narrator was the murderer all along, I was thrilled. After that, it's old hat. But other people might read the same books in a different order...

More specifically to your examples, you can read about the general consensus on which 'person' to write in, but when it comes to describing emotions on the page - finding the perfect, original way to do this is every writer's goal. If it were fixed (or easy) we wouldn't need writers to be creative.

Having said that, you should read about 'motivation-reaction' units, which break down reactions into: Feeling > Reflex > Rational speech / action. That's quite helpful to understand. http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/writing-the-perfect-scene/ (you have to scroll down a fair way)


At first this seemed a superficial Q, but when you think about it, why not?

In many arts, like painting, there are clear technical manuals. This is in no way limited to “crafts”. Obviously the artist interprets and applies the method, or goes against it, in his own personal way. Why should writing be different?

There should be

“proven techniques to obtain certain effects?”

Unfortunately, Adrien Hingert, I am not aware that any such site exists. You might find some answers by combing through S.E. Writers for Q like:


If you are looking for effective techniques for producing an effect on the reader, you will not find them in writing so much as in storytelling. It is in the juxtaposition of people and events that you create an emotional effect. Robert McKee's book Story may be useful to you on this point. He makes that point that a good story badly written beats a bad story beautifully written every time.


I'll add to the already good answers:

effective ways to describe fear, doubt, exhaustion, love...

There are a lot of writing guides out there, some more general, some more specific. Some bad, some good. I'll tell you about my experience with a book called "the Emotion-Thesaurus" that a friend gifted to me and I'm using (even if not consistently).

As the title implies, it's a dictionary for emotions (Love, Anger, Despair ...). Each one gets two pages with useful informations, such as external cues, internal cues, effects of prolonged exposure, related emotions and so on. So it's a pratical guide to make your writing more vivid.

In my experience, I'm used to show certain emotions in a certain way. One of my characters bites her lips when she's feeling uncertain. Yet I can't use it too much, and I can't apply it to everyone, so the thesaurus comes in handy: other characters may show uncertainty by averting their gaze, stuttering, pausing for some time ...

So this may be a resource worth checking. Consider that it's not something you're supposed to read from start to end (I suppose it would be extremely boring, trying to read a dictionary). It's as good as you're willing to open it up each time you want to give more depht to a given emotion.


As a habit I read some educational General Literature and Factual/Referance on Google Books (previews are free)




I'm not familiar with anything exactly matching your description, but you might want to take a look at tvtropes. They don't describe how to archieve certain effects, but they do describe more or less general concepts (so-called tropes). Some tropes are things you can just use in a story (e.g. tomato surprise, lampshade hanging), while others are concerned with completely different things (e.g. writing by the seat of your pants).

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