What Is Emotion?

Gideon's Screenwriting Tips: Now You're a Screenwriter

I’ve previously talked about emotionally engaging your reader, or giving your audience an emotional response to improve your screenplays, but how do you define emotion? That’s a bit like trying to define love and create it in a test tube. But here goes anyway.

Emotions can be broadly defined as a mental and physiological changes in response to an external stimuli evoking feelings, behaviours and thoughts. Hopefully the stimulus is your screenplay. Punch up every scene with emotion. Take your audience through a rollercoaster ride. Make them feel many emotions in a scene, one after the other. Make them laugh. Make ’em cry, and not by peeling onions. The only thing that should be flat is your stomach.

The five basic human emotions are happiness, sadness, love, anger and fear. Two are positive and two are negative. Anger is an interesting response, because it relates to…

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