There's a lot o' action in one of the projects I'm working on. So I'm always pondering different ways to indicate that the character is excited, nervous, scared, terrified, ready to pee her pants.... well you get the idea.
One thing I've realized is that being a mom really helps with this. From the moment that kid pops out, you have no shortage of opportunities in your life to go, " Oh s---, what am I going to do now." So now when I write, I simply mine those moments for the physical symptoms and describe accordingly. (yikes, that sounded rather clinical, but let me forge ahead with this)
Did my stomach clench? Did my jaw tighten? Did I get a rush of panicked heat from toes to scalp? Did my heart feel like it was going to beat out of my throat and into my mouth? Did my pulse do the Indy 500? My eyes widen? My mouth hang open? My fists clench? My throat tighten? My tongue loll like a hound dog on a bad, bad day? Did I feel like the air had been sucked out of my chest? Out of the room? Out of the universe?
If you're a parent, all those are the least of it. Sometimes you can experience them all in one day. Occasionally in one hour. (Like a couple days ago, when college son informed us that there was a meth lab bust next door to where he works. Squad cars. Swat team with rifles. Lots o' running around) So I always have lots to choose from. Even with that, I still have to make sure I'm not repeating myself too often.
Til next time...