One of the authors I spoke with when I was getting info together for the Heat with Heart workshop was Alison Kent.
She gave such a good explanation, I’m going to focus on just that today… description…
I don’t think emotion is accomplished with adverbs or even with lush description. I think emotion is accomplished solely through a character’s thoughts. And those thoughts need to be believable. We don’t think in adverbs and lush description. We think in sharp moments — “I canNOT believe I did that.” = Self-deprecation or humiliton, for example. “What was I thinking?” = Embarrassment, or some such. “God, what is he doing . . . what oh, my . . . yes, please, please.” = Pleasure, joy, etc. We must be in a character’s head – not in their body – in order to get emotion into any scene.
So how do you get inside a character’s head? Think about how you would feel in a given situation. Say you just escaped death and you’re reading to celebrate life *G* with your special someone. How do you think you would feel?
Excited? She was excited, scared and aroused. Yeah, you can do it that way.
Her heart was pounding as she stared at him. She heard the rush of blood pounding in her ears and her hands itched to touch. She’d been so scared, so certain they would die. But they hadn’t. Still, she couldn’t keep from reaching out to him. She had to touch him, had to. Then, maybe, she’d be convinced they’d lived through it.
That’s more interesting to read, yes? You need to make the reader feel the pounding of their heart, squirm with restlessness and gasp with shock with something surprising happens. You do that by showing-not be telling.