Hidden Emotions: How To Tell Readers What Characters Don’t Want To Show –
One of the struggles that comes with writing is when a character feels vulnerable and so tries to hide their emotions as a result. Fear of emotional pain, a lack of trust in others, instinct, or protecting one’s reputation are all reasons he or she might repress what’s going on inside them. After all, people do this in real life, and so it makes sense that our characters will too. Protecting oneself from feeling exposed is as normal as it gets.
But where does that leave writers who STILL have to show these hidden emotions to the reader (and possibly other characters in the scene)?
Here is a list of possible TELLS that will convey to readers that more is going on with your Protagonist than it seems:
A voice that breaks, drops or raises in pitch;
a change in speech patterns Micro hesitations (delayed speech, throat clearing, slow reaction time) showing a lack of commitment
A forced smile, laugh or verbally agreeing/disagreeing in a way that does not seem genuine Cancelling gestures (smiling but stepping back; saying No but reaching out, etc.)
Hands that fiddle with items, clothing and jewellery