From NYT best-selling author and former writing professor, Dave Farland:
Recently I wrote about the importance of creating powerful emotions in stories, but with that comes a caution: don’t get maudlin. Here are a couple of rules.
1) Protagonists don’t cry. If your protagonist does cry, then it frees the audience so that they don’t have to. Hence, if you’re trying to draw genuine tears from a reader, your characters shouldn’t be crying.
2) Let the emotion come naturally. Many authors will begin to fall into “purple prose” when they want to elicit emotion, and so they write in heightened, flowery images. Don’t. If you say something like, “In that moment, his love for her erupted like crocuses, touched by the sun after a long winter,” you’re working too hard.
Nor do you need to talk about an emotion that a scene elicits in the protagonist. In fact, be wary about even naming an emotion. For example, your protagonist sees a dead body, and you want to have her reel away in horror. So your first impulse might be to say, “She gagged and reeled away in horror.” But all you have to do is create the dead body—using sight, smell, touch—and then have her reel away. We shouldn’t need the words “in horror.”
So simply create the scene as completely as you can and let the emotion arise naturally from the incident.
Link to the rest at David Farland