When you write a piece, be it long or short, poem, prose, report or review, you want to instill in the reader a sense of satisfaction, anger, fear, joy, wonder, love or another strong emotion.  The process by which your written word is turned into a readers emotion is described by the word qualia – a subjective sense of experience by an individual.

You as a writer have this power 🙂

You can craft words and put them on a page or screen, and a reader can read or listen to your work and feel something.  You, as a writer, have provoked an emotional response in someone you may have never met, seen or talked to, just by putting words in an order.  Your reader may want to read your work over and over again to get the same sense of feeling.

If you’ve ever read some of Stephen Kings horror work and found your heart beating fast or your mouth going dry, ever read a favoured character death scene and felt yourself getting upset, ever got all emotional at two characters finally getting together in a love scene finale, that’s qualia at work.  The next time a book or text has an emotional effect on you, step back and look at how it’s been set up.  Deconstruct the scene and look at the words, images or characters that pull you in and make you feel.

Why don’t you drop us a comment about the scenes from books/ films/ TV that you can identify as using qualia?

So: how do you instill qualia in your own work?  What hooks, words or phrases do you use to get your reader entangled and caring about your subject or characters?