Readers pick up a book to have an emotional experience. They want to connect with characters on an emotional level that will eventually, by the end of the story, enrich their own lives. (Tweet this).
Readers don’t want to be told how a character feels. They want to experience the emotion themselves. Dialogue is one way to convey or show character emotion, but much of a character’s emotion is nonverbal.
In The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, the authors break down nonverbal communication into three elements: physical signals (body language and actions), internal sensations (visceral reactions) and mental responses (thoughts).
In their book, the authors list over seventy emotions, such as anger, depression, doubt, excitement, happiness, loneliness, relief, and sadness, and offer suggestions on how these emotions can be shown through the three elements above. Read more