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“She has what soul loves to flow into. She's kind, she weeps. She makes quick personal decisions, and laughs so easily.”—Rumi, from The Soul Of Rumi
Showing Character Emotions
In the constant battle of ‘showing vs telling’, describing your character’s emotions is one place that telling can sneak into your writing.
Think about the physical effects of emotions in order to show how your character is feeling.
Don’t say they are nervous - show them refusing food, or repeatedly going to the toilet. Show them tapping their feet, drumming their hands, pacing the room. Show them checking their watch over and over, playing with their hair, or biting their lip.
Don’t say they are sad - show them retreating to their bedroom, show them listening to sad songs, or not paying attention to the television in front of them. Show them hugging a pillow, hiding under the duvet, writing angsty poetry. Show them crying, wailing, shaking, rocking. Show them eating ice cream, chocolate, cake.
Don’t say they are excited - show them chattering away, jumping up and down, clapping their hands. Show them grinning, laughing, hugging their friends. Show them dancing, running in circles, doing cartwheels.
Don’t just tell your readers what your characters are feeling; show them the physical effects of the emotion - physical effects that your readers can relate to. It will make your characters more real, more animated, and it will bring your readers closer to them.
Anonymous asked: Love the diagram, but I searched around not only on your blog, but others too. How do you write characters drinking/being drunk?
Thank you for your question! If you have further questions or a comment to add, hit us up!
Anonymous added: The most useful advice I ever received about influenced characters came from my high school drama teacher. Drunk people don’t “play” drunk, they “play” sober—though they are not. Performing usual tasks, they still seek an expected result, only with a wrench thrown in. Instead of drawing arrows to the obstacle, demonstrate that it is now there outside of the character’s control. That idea of playing the same goal rather than the obstacle helped my storytelling grow up. It’s a fond memory.