When writing a scene, many times we tend to rush through and just tell our readers/fellow writers how a character is feeling, favouring action over emotion. When this happens we do succeed in advancing the story and avoid it dragging on while we detail a character's facial expression. But this also can prevent us from connecting with the character, or distancing us from the emotion of the scene. So how can we balance action and emotion? 1. Know your character's moods and their response. How does your character feel and react in a certain situation? The first thing to do is to decide how your character is feeling at this exact moment. How does this emotion affect them physically? Do they feel sick, or hyper alert? Does that convey fear, or is it excitement? Knowing how your character feels inside and out, even if you don't write it all down, is a good start. How your character is feeling will affect how they move. Describing a small movement, such as a facial twitch, an itch, a lifting of the eyebrows or even a widening/narrowing of the eyes goes a long way to subtly draw the reader in to the mindset of the character. 2. How does the character perceive their world through their emotion? This is one half of the equation, especially if this is a character you're privy to. Tree branches can look quite menacing to someone who is terrified. They can seem to reach out and catch at them. On the other hand, they could be just in the way; something flimsy to be swatted away like an annoying insect. A wall can seem a cool comfort to sweaty skin, or a cold, harsh reminder of an unpleasant situation. Always spare a few words for the character’s take on their surroundings. 3. How does the world react to the character's actions? Seeing your character from the third person view is important not only for seeing the effects of a character’s action, but also helps to read the emotions of characters to whose thoughts you’re not privy, such as NPCs. We won’t go too much into NPCs here, but you can use the same technique as described in the first part to show their reaction to your character’s actions. How is your character making them feel, and how can you show that? You can also give some implied emotion to the furniture/objects around your character. The floor can squeak accusingly at guilty footsteps, branches yield to a hand, dishes shiver in response to a fist on a table. Setting a mood to the surroundings helps your character’s emotions to emanate from them and cause an effect elsewhere, making them more immersed and part of the setting their in. Emotion in a character is essential for giving your readers something to latch onto in the story. It can give you the power of guiding your readers to connect with your characters the way you want them to, whether to love or hate them. But giving a character emotion does not have to come at the expense of moving a story along. These tips are just some of the ways you can portray that emotion more effectively and efficiently. Happy Roleplaying!