I’m a big fan of the tortured hero. I don’t just want my heroine to suffer; my hero has to suffer equally or more than my heroine for me to be drawn into the story. That’s true both for my own writing and for other books that I read. Maybe it’s because if both hero and heroine suffer, they both have a stronger connection to the relationship—they’ve both had to help each other overcome something to get to their HEA.
Emotional cues are more than just crying to show sadness and yelling to show anger. There are physical reactions that we all experience when in the throes of emotional turmoil. Accurately depicting those cues can draw the reader in and make them feel what the hero and heroine feel. In the course of my writing, I’ve found a number of sites online that have been helpful in showing emotional reactions. Unfortunately, when I switched computers, I somehow lost those sites. Luckily, my friends at RWA had some that they use. Some great resources are:
The Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs & Body Language Cues (http://center-for-nonverbal-studies.org/6101.html). Click on one of the emotions, such as anger, and see photos and get descriptions of how different body parts react. It’s a great tool to use to avoid cliché expressions.
The Emotion Thesaurus http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/2008/01/introducing-thesaurus-thursdays.html. This is a blog that lets you click on whatever emotion you need and provides a list of physical ways to describe them. Again, a terrific tool!
Craft by Joanna Waugh http://www.joannawaugh.com/Craft.html Again, a listing of physical traits.
There are many others out there, I’m sure. What do you use?