Character Emotion

by Leia
(England)

Question: I was wondering how I can show characters emotions and thoughts in a way that doesn't detract from the narrative when in 3rd person? I find it harder than in 1st person because I end up going to much into thoughts.


Question: If the character in question is the main character or point-of-view character, you can describe his/her feelings and thoughts in third person as in "She wished she had a deep hole to crawl into."

However, the best way to indicate a character's emotions is usually through their actions. These can be internal, as in, "Her stomach lurched at the sound of his name," or external: "The more he talked, the more tightly she gripped the sword."

Of course, you can only describe internal actions for the point-of-view character. Other characters must be described by externals. However, by describing actions, you are keeping the narrative going, not sidetracking from it.

Some narration of a character's thoughts is usually not a problem, though I agree that in an action scene you would want to keep them brief. Usually, you can have the character reflect on a scene after it has happened rather than during. An alternative is to have the character express his/her thoughts through dialogue with another character, or even through writing a letter or email.

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