In order to help your readers connect with your writing, it helps to provide an emotion that resonates with them. Explorers feel excitement and anticipation. When things go wrong, they may feel dread or frustration. To write these things realistically, you just need to connect with emotional inspiration in your own life.
Recently, my son and I were in the dining room when he said something about the baby birds in the back yard. Baby birds? In January? We’re in the Northern Hemisphere, Meriwether. I don’t think so.
Sure enough, I looked out the window and they weren’t baby birds. “Those are junco.”
“They look like babies.”
“They’re still junco. Your grandmother called them snow birds.”
“Every baby bird I’ve ever seen looks like that.”
Honestly, I’m not sure what baby birds he’s been perusing but as I tried to discuss facts with Mr. Thanks-but-I-don’t-think-so, it hit me. This must have been what it felt like for Sacagawea. Having read bits and pieces of the Lewis and Clark journals, I’ve always been amazed by the healthy dose of stupidity that they drug along with them. Want to intimidate a vastly superior force? Shoot at them! Want to convince someone to take us seriously? Shoot at them! Never seen anything like that before? Who cares if our guide has a name for it, we’re going to call it a brarow.* We’ll probably take a shot at it too.
Have I ever had the frustrations of leading two mighty explorers? Thankfully, no. But I have tried to reason with my son. I’m pretty darn sure I can draw on one to illustrate the other.
What emotion does your reader need to connect with in your story? Remember a time in your own life when you experienced similar joy, frustration or angst and you will be able to bring it to life for both your characters and your readers.