How many of you writers out there have heard the expression “Show…don’t tell”…most of you, I bet. We writers often fall into the “She was angry…she was very happy…she was embarrassed” lines in which you try to tell what the characters feelings are at the time.
These sentences usually appear in my first draft of my story. I then have to go back and start “Showing” what my character does when he/she is angry, happy or embarrassed. Because I have learned that letting my readers see what my character is feeling and the effect it has on them physically makes my character more real…more alive.
Sometimes, when I’m trying to write about the “look” my character has for a specific emotion, I need a little help. Luckily, I found a great book titled “The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writers Guide to Character Expression” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This book is always by my side during the second or third draft of my story…when I’m trying to give my characters more life.
It’s laid out in a very easy to understand format and almost does the work for me. The authors have taken each emotion and broken it down into the definition, the physical signals, the internal sensations a character might have, mental responses and much more. I have yet to find an emotion that isn’t covered in the book and I find it an invaluable resource when I’m trying to “Show” my character’s feelings.
I’m sure there are many excellent books out there that cover the same subject, but I haven’t had the need to look for them since The Emotion Thesaurus does the job so well for my characters.
So, if you are trying to “Show it with a look” I recommend you give The Emotion Thesaurus a try to make your readers see what your character is feeling. I found it on Amazon and I believe it was very, very cheap.
To me, it’s worth it’s weight in gold and I can’t imagine writing without it!
Yours in Writing,