Acceptance the Non-emotion

Written By: Timothy Fish Published: 12/17/2007

There is one emotion that may not seem like an emotion at all. Acceptance is the emotion that we feel when we like things the way they are. We might think of it as the default emotion. If we do not feel anything else toward something then we accept it for what it is.

When writing in such a way that the readers accept something, it may be that the reader will have no trouble accepting some things because the author has stated that they are true. Acceptance comes into play more when the writer is trying to move the story from one state to another. What the reader has accepted before she may have to reject and accept something new.

At times, we want a reader to accept something that is undesirable. A favored character might face a turn of misfortune. Rather than looking for ways for the character to regain his health or wealth, we might want the reader to reach the point of accepting the way things are.

Acceptance is largely about readjusting the status quo. When a reader accepts something, the reader believes that it is the way things are or the way things are going to be. There is nothing that can be done or there is nothing that should be done about the situation. Acceptance is sometimes needed as a starting point for writing that leads to some of the other emotions. The death of a character can lead to sadness, but only if the reader has accepted the character. If the reader does not like the character then the reader may experience happiness at the character’s death.

To move a reader toward acceptance, you must remove the hope for something be better and at times show that the situation could be worse. When there is no hope for improvement, the current situation looks like it is the absolute best situation possible. A person may not like the situation, but the person will come to accept that situation.