Telling the reader a character feels happy is simple. And rather flat and boring. But showing signs of joy can give your story a strong punch that will make even your readers reflect the emotions while reading.
Voice and facial expression
A burst of joy usually makes the character’s voice a bit high-pitched, possibly singing-like. You can use these 10 Happy “Said” Alternatives in dialogues to create a joyful impression. The characters can speak clearly, but some stutter and laughter pauses are also a good sign of sudden extreme happiness. The speech can be also a bit quicker, longer, and the character can repeat some words.
The face should brighten, the character usually cannot avoid a smile, even a grin. Wrinkles can soften the character’s eyes and their cheeks can turn pink.
Apart from the upper mentioned, the whole body usually reacts to joy. The character can burst with energy, jump, dance… or look very comfortable and relaxed. Happy people also often deal easily with tasks. A happy character can clean the whole household in half an hour, or bring relief to the whole office by quickly finding a solution for a complicated problem.
Joy can make physical troubles easier and thus injured or disabled characters may show their emotional state by slight posture or movement changes. A happy moment can also push a character to an unexpected performance, like winning a dance competition or succeeding in an exam.
Effect on other characters and atmosphere
A joyous character can brighten the whole scene. Or cause grim vibes and make the readers and other characters sense trouble in a case of an antagonist. A happily whistling dark lord playing with a dagger or scepter means nothing good, right? Or do you recall dear Dolores Umbridge and her giggle?
Make sure the surrounding of the character responds to their current mood. Arrival of a happy character (or in any other significant state) can work also as a changer for the atmosphere in a scene, foreshadow something, cause a twist…
Happy characters can participate in dialogues to bring optimism or advice. Or they can be too optimistic, misjudge the situation, and cause trouble. They can help others be happy as well, or ignite envy in other characters that can lead to negative actions. A character’s happy or bad ending and their resulting emotions will significantly influence the whole book ending atmosphere and the reader’s opinion. Thus, you can use a happy character to make the final book feeling burst with rainbow and sunshine, or dilute the many negative outcomes that would make your horror or drama too hard to digest. Apart from the ending, significant happy moments in the whole plot inhabit the reader’s memory just like the outstanding negative or tragic moments. You can accumulate happiness in a character to create such strong memorable points in your writing.