Using Triggers to Poke at a Character’s Emotional Wound

Very helpful information for crafting realistic characters using emotional triggers.

Kobo Writing Life

By Angela Ackerman

When it comes to acknowledging what hurts us, the old saying, Deny, deny, deny! comes to mind. Why? Because in real life we don’t want to appear weak, so when we suffer emotional pain, we often stuff it down deep and paste on a smile as if nothing is wrong. It’s no different with our characters, and in both cases, refusing to deal with wounding events carries a steep price.

Unresolved psychological pain doesn’t go away and hiding it only leads to dysfunction and unhappiness.

Emotional trauma is, by nature, painful. When it happens, our feelings are laid bare. So it’s no wonder that last thing anyone wants to do is unpack that vulnerability again to work through it. Avoidance seems better, but it leads to dysfunctional coping methods like bad habits, flaws, biases, and emotional reactiveness.

This type of emotional shielding keeps people and further possible…

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What I Said



OK so you remember that post we talked about last night? Yea, well, we’ll have to wait on that. We’re in that transitional stage of moving and after packing all day I….can’t….even.

Enough about me, how are things with you? Been awhile since we just talked. How is life? Let’s have coffee tomorrow, what do you say? Yea? Excellent! Its a coffee date. Tomorrow at 8am CST. Be here.



You wouldn’t know it from the color of the sky, the not so barren trees, or the way the sun kisses the ground but the wind is a reminder that frost does not need to edge the tops of buildings for the temperature to drop. The heat from the computer modem down at my feet warms my naked toes before the blanket of caffeine engulfs my throat. It has never been so refreshing than to drink coffee or tea in the winter time. Nonetheless, I sit here in the slightly dimmed bedroom I have turned into a second office of which the bed is left purposely unattended, almost as if someone is hiding out in there. The shape of my body left lingering in the curve of its back, sheets curled into itself, and pillows lodged one on top the other that I may return shortly and pull the covers up to my eyeballs. No, it’s not that cold, I just like to do that. My white walls makes the room look tan against the darkness and splash of yellow from the lamp. I love the way the colors blend to mimic the natural earth tone of browns and oranges. The lamp produces just enough light with its small and modest stares. As the cable modem and computer compete simultaneously to produce the greatest hum (have you ever sat back and noticed how loud electronics are?) the truth is that I’m sitting here thinking about the transition of creative thought to production. Obviously my mind is in a creative mood and I wonder how it slips from my thoughts to electronic ink on a page. Is it blue ocean waves overflowing into the shapes of words; is it strung along by string from my heart and stitched into white paper; are these words a mere thread of my consciousness, a spiritual  essence poured out only to be confined and restricted to the tangible platform that binds them. It is an intriguing transition. That process of being filled to the brim, only to drip mere inklings of thought from black colored ink, and fire coated passion, on white paper.