Meltdown vs. Bad-Day Writing

Expressing Characters’ Emotions on the Worst (and Second-Worst, and Third-Worst . . .) Day of Their Lives

It’s a widely accepted truth that if stage actors, viewed from lofty balcony seats and way-back stadium seating alike, are to adequately project emotion, there’s gotta be a little exaggeration. Sometimes a lot. While the acting may never reach the highs (er, lows?) of soap operas or, say, the early days of Bonanza (ten points to anyone who knows the specific scenery-chewing I mean here), it does have to be pointed and often quite physical for the content to be properly expressed in the given context.

A truth perhaps less widely known: with fiction, particularly the literary variety, it’s nearly the opposite. If you’re going to express your character’s emotions in a way that comes across as relatable and real, a little understatement can go a long way.

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