Emotions can’t be told. They have to be shown
Each week, there will be a theme based on an emotion. The aim is to express the emotion in the line rather than use the word itself.
The first game is Thursday 11th January and the theme is eagerness.
We all have our own individual habits and tics. These aren’t limited to the physical signs but also include internal sensations and the mental response.
The same goes for our characters. Each has their own personality, and therefore his or her own habits and means of showing emotion.
Let’s take two examples:
‘Get out,’ he said angrily.
‘Get out,’ he hissed through gritted teeth.
The first example tells the reader the man is angry but not how it is being expressed. Unless it is established elsewhere, the reader must decide how the anger is projected.
The second example shows the anger. The reader can sense the tension in his body. It also hints the man is holding back the full brunt of his anger, and that it could get a lot worse if his order is disobeyed.
Consistant character habits will make them more belieable to the reader. It will also stop you from using crutch actions such a nodding, shrugging and sighing.
Think of your own habits. When I’m idle, I tend to fidget with my jewellery. Twist rings. Toy with necklace pendants. When I’m anxious, I wring out my hands. When I’m angry, I go silent and keep away from people.
For further reading, I recommend The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This book lists seventy-five emotions and all the ways you can express them.
I hope you can join in on #FeelLines and will be looking out for your entries every Thursday.