I just finished a rather short, but very enjoyable vacation. In that time I wrote a chapter and a half of my WIP, read two novels, and got to watch many episodes of Stargate SG1. It was wonderful. :)
The books and the show got me thinking about characters that I enjoys, and why. What is it about them that has me laugh out loud, cry, or get very annoyed at them? In TV shows it comes down to the little looks that some of these very talented actors can give. I'm a big fan of 24, CSI (the original - can there be any other!), Stargate SG1, and Criminal Minds. The body language tells us who these characters are, practically shouts out their inner thoughts and makes us fall in love with them. That's how we know there are feelings between a male and female lead without them ever dwelling on it. I'm sure the writers of the show don't always realize there will be a relationship until the actors sink their teeth into the role.
In books, this can be difficult to capture. The most talented and successful authors out there seem to be able to describe the character's personality through what they do, rather than what they say. I love that.
Something that I find myself doing more and more is reading a novel for pleasure and then re-reading it to analyze how the author captures their character's emotions. This has been very helpful in my own writing. I go back and am able to add layers to my characters by describing their actions, which are usually in opposition to what they are saying. :) I have also been removing a lot of the "she felt..." sentences and actually describe what that character is doing. Physical reactions are far more powerful. And more interesting to read.