My friend was angry. He was very angry. He was furious!
From the above sentence, we can tell that the writer’s friend was very very angry. However, do you think that this is an interesting or exciting way to develop a character’s feelings? I’m sure you would agree that there are better ways to do this!
Hello everyone! I am Mr Joel, an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. In this blog post, I will be sharing about how we can use our character’s actions and facial expressions to develop their feelings!
When you go about your daily life, do you feel emotions? When you see a cruel child bullying a helpless puppy, do you feel angry? When you receive a present from your friends, do you feel happy?
Similarly, your characters will feel emotions as your story progresses. Describing their feelings makes them relatable as readers can better understand your characters when they know how your characters feel!
Identifying Character Feelings
When developing your story, always ask yourself – how is your character feeling towards the events that are happening. For example, if your character is being threatened by a bully, would he / she feel excited or terrified?
After you are done identifying the feelings of your character, it is important to show this to readers instead of simply telling them. But how can we do this?
Let’s try this using the emotion of shock.
I want you to close your eyes for a bit and imagine the following scenario. You are walking alone along the void deck below a block of flats. As you are reaching the pillar near the lift, you hear a sound. Suddenly, someone jumps out in front of you and screams in your face.
How would you feel and respond?
If this situation were to happen to me, I would feel and/or do the following:
Shrieked in shock
Eyes and mouth widen in shock
Put my hands up defensively
Heart pound in my chest
As a reader, can you imagine my shock vividly when I show you my feelings and responses in the way above? You can do this too! In order to express a character’s emotions well, I have put in the effort to emphasise on these parts of the character:
How will it look like when these vivid descriptions are all put together?
Thinking about these categories can help you brainstorm for different ways to show your character’s emotions to your readers.
Today, we have explored how we can use Show-not-Tell to develop the emotion of shock based on a given scenario. However, don’t stop there!
Challenge yourself to do the same when you come across other emotions! The more you do this, the simpler it’ll become!
Write & Shine Programme Details
Duration: 1.5 hr Weekly
Composition Writing (with 20 Composition Topics covered)