on Writers Helping Writers:
Those of you who are familiar with me know that Angela Ackerman and I talk a lot about emotion. A LOT.
That’s because we believe that clearly conveying emotion—particularly that of the protagonist or viewpoint character—plays an important role in building reader empathy. If we can build a strong connection for the reader, they’ll become invested in the character and be more likely to keep reading.
The other reason character emotion is so important is that it draws the reader into the story. If we’re able to show emotion well, we heighten the reader’s experience; instead of them sitting back and being told about the character’s emotions, they’re feeling them as the story goes along. They’re invited to share in the journey.
That level of engagement is critical if we’re going to pull readers into our stories and keep them there.