I have a very difficult time putting emotion into my novels. To me, their emotions are obvious from their actions, but my readers (almost unanimously) say that they need some indicator of what these people are feeling.
Honestly, if an ex husband comes back with the stated intention of taking custody of their son, I think the woman’s emotions can pretty well be assumed. But apparently not.
So the third edit I do is emotion. At this point I have to put in the little actions, words, descriptions, that will tell my readers what I already feel is obvious.
Makes it difficult, and some might say that if I think it’s unnecessary I should skip it. Since I like the books better when this edit is done, I continue to do it.
This is another step of character development, and unfortunately many of my books are set in a world where visible emotion is frowned on. In many cases what I do is create physical tells for each character. So a character might pick at her skirt when she’s angry and fiddle with her hair when she’s being sarcastic, or whatever. If I can create distinct “tells” for each character they start to pop off the page, just a little.
I go through the book as many times as necessary, trying to put at least three emotion words or sentences on each page. Doesn’t always work that way, but I try.
Then it’s time for the other hard edit, even worse. Description.