Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A to Z Challenge 2015 - Emotions & Reactions - G is for Gratitude (writing discussion & fiction)

A to Z Challenge 2015 - Emotions & Reactions









This year for the A to Z Challenge, I'm investigating emotions and reactions and their use to in writing. So, I'll be talking about my first thoughts as a writer when I think about the words we use to describe emotions and my experience of their use in literature and TV/film.

gratitude
gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

I like gratitude, it's a warm reaction, one that is good to both give and receive.

On the surface, gratitude is simple - someone does something nice, useful, or kind for you, and you feel thanks, their act of kindness lightens your heart and makes you feel good. They feel good, and you feel good too. And, that is one interpretation, the normal reaction, you could say.

Yet gratitude is even more interesting when the reaction is not as straightforward. In some cultures, the gratitude for the saving of a life takes the form of an obligation to the saver. In Robinson Crusoe, Friday is indebted to Crusoe for saving his life. In Kingsman: The Secret Service (the movie, not the comics), there would be no story if it weren't for Harry's debt to Eggsy's dad for saving his life, which is the main reason for Harry nominating Eggsy as his candidate in the Kingsman training.

And it gets even more interesting when gratitude is rebuffed, unwanted and sometimes violently rejected. Why would a character not want someone else's gratitude. Sometimes they don't think they don't deserve it. At others they are not interested in someone else's thanks. And then there are the times when the reason gratitude is rejected is to avoid that link, that obligation, that connection, it is seen as a hindrance, a chance for emotion when cold, hard calculation is needed.

Gratitude, although mainly a warm thing, can be begrudging, unwelcome. In Fifth Element, Guy Zorg feels compelled not to kill Father Cornelius because Cornelius save him from choking - it's a nice little twist for a character that is up to that point totally self-centred and 'evil'.

So, as writers, we can play with gratitude in lots of ways.

QUESTION: What's the best way of saying thanks that you know?

~

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22 comments:

  1. Hmm. Yeah, gratitude can come out in different ways.

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  2. Replies
    1. Yes, it's a comfortable emotion in most cases, unless it is begrudged, then things get really interesting :)

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  3. Gratitude is all you say it is. Sometimes the best way to show it is to do nothing at all, but give a slight tilt o the head or a smile. Some people prefer their kindness not be brought to their attention.

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    1. Yes, the way people take thanks is as telling as the way people give it :)

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  4. I'm showing my gratitude that you stopped by my blog to comment by reciprocation. I don't know that it's the best thanks, but in the blogosphere, I'd say it's pretty well up there!

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    1. That is always a good way to say thanks :)

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  5. Gratitude is nice. In fiction and real life. I always try to make sure my character's are grateful to each other. No one likes a mean, ungrateful character. Unless it's an antagonist. :P

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    1. A grateful antagonist can mix things up a bit too :)

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  6. Gratitude is nice. In fiction and real life. I always try to make sure my character's are grateful to each other. No one likes a mean, ungrateful character. Unless it's an antagonist. :P

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  7. In one of my Benton books, Jennifer is jealous of beautiful blonde Lauren. Lauren is a nice person who does nice things for people, but Jennifer is so blinded by her jealously that she doesn't appreciate her - at first Jealousy, or some other initial reaction to gratitude, is one way to play with gratitude.

    Precious Monsters

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    1. That is a good way to play with this emotion :)

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  8. I think you summed up gratitude perfectly.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  9. In RL, just saying thanks works a lot. Or little tokens to show it, a gift like chocolate perhaps. Or home made cookies.

    In my writings....well, depends on the character. I had one girl thank a friend for gift by sliding into his lap and kissing him. It didn't go well. He flipped out. Cuz, you know, she's married.

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    1. Now that sounds like a saucy thank you :)

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  10. I think saying thanks is great...but if you can return the favor, it's even better!

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  11. It is rather interesting when gratitude is rebuffed. That usually means there's a story there, and everyone likes a good story. ;)

    And I think just saying thanks is nice. Or, depending on what the gratitude is for, paying it forward.

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    1. The want of any good writer, a story :)

      Paying it forward, taking thanks out into the world is a great way of making the world around you a nicer place to live.

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  12. Love everything about this article and gratitude. Saying thanks with gratitude is being present sharing emotional space in an integral way. Also hugs smiles laughs cooking returning friendship and love in an open candid place.
    http://sytiva.blogspot.com/

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Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear from you. :)