Emotions are hard.

Catbus dislikes your prose.

My beloved gave me some constructive criticism on my writing recently, and of course I handled it maturely.

Which is to say, I was dismissive, hurt -and jerked my knee REAL HARD. Rejecting what she said out of hand, and refusing to accept any remote validity to her statement.

Fifteen minutes later I realized she had a point.

Then I pouted for a day or so.

Then the crying.

And now that I’ve processed, I’m ready to obliquely admit that she had a point, a small point.

[Read: She was completely right.]

Her criticism was:

Since you write in third person exclusively, you have a tendency to not show character’s emotions. I understand that you’re trying to “show, not tell” — but I’d like to get more inside the character’s heads, and get a sense of their emotions. [Heavily paraphrased, she’s the one with the eidetic memory.]

I read back through a few pieces, and I can totally agree with this assessment. And while I’m always going to err on the side of allowing my audience to make their own conclusions about characters — I feel this is a tool I need to be able to master, because it can be extremely effective.

So, my question is: How do I do this, without my stuff sounding like a Harlequin romance?

I can’t just write “The mage was sad. Her sadness was strong, and full of more sadness.”

Can I?

Opinions, suggestions, and examples if you got ’em!