Can you include emotion in character description?

questionmarkI’ve been following your screenwriting posts since the IMDB days, but I’ve been unable to find anything on this, maybe because it’s such a grey area.

Is it considered a faux pas to use emotion in the description of a character? Right now, I’ve written “His uncomplicated features might easily reveal fear,” but will that scream Oblivious Rookie should I be lucky enough for my screenplay to end up in the hands of a reader?

– John

It’s fine to refer to either the emotions the character is experiencing at the moment we meet him, or his general emotional makeup. Anything you can do to help paint a distinct portrait of who the character is will help.

Her braces-bound teeth biting into her lip, CASSIE FINWELL (19) silently swoons as Mr. Gleeson pulls off his sweater, in the process revealing a glimpse of his navel.

CLARK CLEMMONS (27) is the happiest man in Eugene -- just like it says on his t-shirt. He’s also a serial arsonist, but doesn’t advertise that fact.

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