One of the first rules young writers come across is Show, Don’t tell.
The rule: Don’t tell your POV character is angry, show her anger. You show emotions by describing characters’ facial expressions, body language, voice, or (re)actions.
Tell: Rose is angry
Show: Rose’s face screws up.
Staring at a blank page* and trying to think up emotional reactions can block a writer. To avoid that, you can look up descriptions of emotional reactions in The Emotion Thesaurus.
If you check out fear in The Emotion Thesaurus, you can find phrases like face turning ashen, hair lifting on the nape, or clammy hands.
This is helpful, but you can’t use these phrases just yet. The phrases in the Emotion Thesaurus are overused and clichéd.
You can freshen up these phrases by theming the words, adding rhetorical devices, or deploying other prose techniques. Examples:
Before: Her heart hammers in her chest.
Fresh: Her heart bangs on her sternum as if it wants to get out.
Before: His words sliced her heart.
Using a simile: His words cut up her heart like a priest a Passover lamb.
Before: She stares at him anxiously but insistently.
Themed and simile: Now, she looks like a swordsman facing battle, anxious but decided and ready.
*Never stare at a blank page.