Conflict is an essential element of most stories, but conflict only scratches the surface when you are talking about emotional range. Conflict is the catalyst for the universal emotions such as fear, anger, frustration, happiness, and sadness. Can you show the quiet sadness or frustration of a family whose life was changed by a tornado? They are not yelling or crying or even talking. Does your emotional range allow you to recognize that emotional numbness?
How did you feel when your first child was born? How did you feel when you had your first kiss? If we are going to be great storytellers we need to experience life ourselves and then draw on those experiences to make our stories better. So, use the experiences in your own life to begin developing your emotional range. Think of how you felt on your child’s first day at school or when your grandfather died and find words in your stories to help us better understand the story you are covering today. Unless you look in the mirror and realize what you bring to the storytelling table, you will waste your “seasoning” and your story will suffer.
To begin finding and developing your emotional range in storytelling look back. Pull out your stories from the past two weeks and review them. Think about how you “felt” about doing that story and then think about how the people in the story felt. Did you capture those feelings? Did you show the quiet frustration of the city council member who is trying to do something good for her district? Or, did you just do the obvious and show the argument in the council chambers.
Dig into the emotions. Every story has them. It’s your job to find them and use them to help tell the story.

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