Writing Emotion

Be The Character

When I am writing emotional scenes, I immerse myself into my character's feelings so I can describe them perfectly.  It's a lot more effective than just telling the reader what happened. For example: my main character remembers a time when she witnessed something tragic happen to her best friend. All of the sudden, she is flooded with emotion, and begins to cry. So what? I just told you what happened.

Telling isn't as involving as letting the reader get close and understand what's happening to the character on the inside. To write it properly, I had to imagine actually experiencing that scene over and over again, just so I could write the sensations I was feeling for accuracy. It worked too. When I read the scene it seemed quite real. But I've cried while listening to powerful music; so we'll have to see how it all turns out.

Show Feelings, Don't Tell

When one of my characters does something, anything really, unless it's a straightforward action, I do it myself now. I mean I actually simulate the action or I imagine doing it. Then, I describe exactly what my feelings were, for realism.

I'm not going to tell the reader that "my character got angry when she stubbed her toe". But by describing what the character does and feels instead of telling, my reader will figure it out.

As a result, they get to experience the emotions as they happen. It's better writing. Personally, I love it when a writer shows and doesn't tell.