Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story

Creating Emotional Scenes in a Story – A Study of Friday Night Lights

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Friday Night Lights is one of my favorite television series. I was a latecomer to the series, catching the entire series for the first time on Netflix a couple of years back. But, I loved it and couldn’t stop watching. So, a couple of months ago, I started watching the series again from start to finish to see if it holds up after a second viewing. It does.

Friday Night Lights is a show that tugs on my emotions every single episode. I can’t believe how often I have tears in my eyes, and often not sad tears, but tears because the moment on the screen is so moving.

So, as I continue work on my young adult novel, I am examining Friday Night Lights to figure out how the series manages to pack so much emotion into each episode and how I can bring emotion into my YA novel. Obviously, television and novels are two different mediums, but both are story-telling mediums and enough crossover exists for writers to learn from television and likewise.

I think the series is fantastic at portraying authentic relationships and those relationships create emotional scenes. The relationship between Coach Eric Taylor and his wife is a great example. Their relationship isn’t perfect; they fight, argue, and disagree, yet they understand their love for each other remains in the tough moments.

I also think Friday Night Lights has an element of realism many teen dramas do not. The football team does not win every game. Star players get injured. People make bad decisions. And in all of those moments, the characters wrestle with what is right and many times, the decision isn’t black or white. Friday Night Lights isn’t afraid to go into the grey areas of our lives.

So I am using those two concepts to help me with my novel-writing. I want to create authentic relationships and tackle grey areas of our lives in my novel. I want my readers to feel like the story is real.

What are ways you create emotional scenes in your stories or novels?

What are your favorite novels, television series, or movies for tugging at your emotions?

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