Showing and not telling is a tip every writer has heard. But how do you show emotions through characters without telling? Here are four helpful tips!
1. Vocal Cues– Shifts in the character’s voice can show/hint at their emotional state. This can be especially good for secondary characters as the story is not in their point of view. You can use hesitations, a change in tone, or pitch to show these signs when writing a character’s dialogue.
2. Body Language– How our body responds to events can be a hint of how we feel. The stronger the emotion the more our body reacts uncontrollably. When a character is angry, they may shake their leg without noticing, or when a character is disgusted, they may scrunch their face up or gag. These show your character’s emotions without having to tell the reader explicitly.
3. Thoughts– Mental responses can be how someone shows emotion. It can also show how a character sees the world. Showing a character’s thoughts on a situation is a powerful way to show the character’s feelings. If a character is depressed, has anxiety, anger issues, or is simply happy this can show be portrayed through internal monologue or thoughts. This can also help show the voice of a character.
4. Visceral Reactions– These are reactions inside of the body: faster heart rate, adrenaline, etc. These are triggered by certain things that can happen in the character’s world. If a character in your story is kidnapped and they are in the middle of an escape plan and they hear footsteps, their heart rate may go up in fear or adrenaline may course through their body. Everybody feels these types of internal sensations so the readers will be able to connect to the character.
These are some ways that you can show your emotions through characters without having to tell how your character feels.
By Ciana Bowers