I’ve betaed a lot of mss lately, and I keep finding this one thing in common in some of them: There’s room for more “showing with thoughts.” To make myself clear, take a look at this rough example that I wrote:
"The noise of breaking glass reaches my ears and the anti-theft alarm goes off. I clutch the sheets tightly and my heart races. Footsteps creak on the floorboards downstairs, and while I climb down the bed to reach the phone and dial 911, a shiver runs down my spine"
Here I’m not *telling* that the MC is afraid, right? With the heart racing and the shiver, I’m *showing* it, right? Right. But then why I don’t like this example of showing?
1) Because I think shivers running down spines and hearts drumming are becoming clichés. Just as jaws setting, nostrils flaring, and teeth clenching. (But hey, that doesn’t mean I don’t use them sometimes, lol!)
2) Because I have no idea what the MC is thinking. And I usually LOVE to be in the MC’s head.
If you do it right, you can show feelings (scared, sad, etc) with thoughts. But without making the character think something like, “Omigosh, I’m so scared.”
Okay so if I want to show scared, I might make the character think:
“Where the hell did I leave my taser?” Or, “If I hide under the bed, would the killer see me?”
Or maybe I want to show angry:
“I imagine my knuckles crunching against his nose, and I have to bite my lip not to smile.”
Well, I’m sure you get what I’m trying to say now, right?
I hope this post helped someone in some way!!
So how do you like to show feelings?