I don’t have a TV where I live at the moment, so all I can do is binge on dramas. Not good for my grades, but excellent to feed the drama craving. And also great for when I feel like crying. If you watch a lot of dramas, you agree with me there.
Dramas are able to make us cry in many ways. Whether because of a happy scene, or a sad scene. In this post, I will be giving you tips on how to make your readers cry as much as dramas make you cry.
1. What are feelings?
Do humans have feelings? Absolutely. So what do drama writers usually do? They exploit those feelings by making sure that they hit that soft spot of yours, repeatedly. Stab it with a sword and make sure that a happy ending is the last thing on your mind. And that is what you, as a writer, should also do. Exploit their weakness. Emotion.
2. Grow the reader character relationship.
You don’t like killing off your babies? Then you should not be trying to write a story. No, seriously. In drama land that one character that you have loved since the beginning will be stabbed to death, if not shot in the second last episode. Like, you have been with this character from the very beginning of the drama and you expected them to have a happy ending, because that is what the plot tells you. Everything that has been happening to that character has been positive. They were saved from being killed the first time, but when danger comes the second time, no one is there to save them.
When that character’s guardian (because there is always a guardian) realises what has happened and finds the lifeless body on the floor, you can’t help but also feel the pain. Because you were with the character from the beginning. You’ve seen what made them happy. You’ve seen what upset them. You even know how to make them laugh. But that is no longer of use, because said character is dead on the floor and the guardian is bawling their eyes out. So, as human as you are, when you see someone cry over something, while you were also trying to suppress your own tears, you will also start crying.
The point of this long story? Kill the character that the readers love the most. You will hate doing it. The readers will hate you. But at the end of the day, the readers will still come begging for more.
3. Make it quick.
Make the readers love the character and then go along and shoot them in the head. It’s so evil, it might actually work. Seriously. This goes with the previous point. If the readers know the character well and you suddenly kill them, the only way that they will know to handle the situation is by bawling their eyes out, of course.
4. Slow it down.
Have you ever watched a drama where a character was stabbed and now they are going on about what they wanted to do, who they wanted to kiss, and all the bad they wished they have never done? I mean, it becomes annoying after a while. Because after the initial shock of seeing their beloved character being stabbed, the readers lose all emotions. I mean, in dramas I end up sitting there wondering when the character will die already. But sometimes, this is very rare, I start to think that the character will actually live. I start to have a mini celebration in my head.
This is what you want your readers to feel. Hope. Give them that light in the darkness and then blow it out and leave them in a much darker place.
5. Close relationships.
That one character that you like in a drama, that you have been rooting for, that you were even starting to ship with the main character. What do drama writers do with those already loved characters? Make them betray the lead. No death here, just the shock of experiencing third degree backstabbing. This time I just cry because of the betrayal.
Why was it him/her? He was such a good friend/colleague. I shipped them!
With this method, not only will the readers be completely devastated, but they will want to read more. Why? Because humans are curious. They will want to know what happened next. They will want to make sure that the betrayal was real and not just a hoax from the evil writer. This is really the best way to keep them reading. Make them want it.
6. Get the shipped to be a thing.
This is positive. Sorry to disappoint. This method is one that is used in every drama. Get a female lead. Get a male lead. Make them uninterested in each other for the first few chapters and then get them to start doing cute things that will make the readers ship them. Then make them hold hands and watch the readers go mad. I mean, after many suffocating episodes where the leads do romantic things together and then suddenly they hold hands, I end up crying because of the feels. The feels become so powerful that I have to pause and take a breather. That is how bad it becomes. Then make them hug. For the grand finale, make them kiss. The readers would have been waiting for it forever and when it happens, the accumulated feels will explode. Thus leaving the reader in a giggling, whizzing mess. True story.
7. Or you could just…
Kill one of the leads before they get to kiss or be official. Back to killing again. I must not like happy endings. Or rather, dramas have ruined how I see happy endings.
Either way, dramas always find a way to make us cry. That is actually how they manage to get us hooked. They attack our emotions. Be it positively or negatively, they will try at anything to make the water works a show no one would want to miss.
Be that writer. See feelings and have the intense need to destroy them.