Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Confusion

· Brows drawing together
· Lines forming between the eyebrows
· Head tilting to the side
· Gaze clouding, going distant
· Frowning
· Hands touching the lips, mouth, face
· Glance darting around, head turning, as if looking for answers
· Opening the mouth but not speaking, or opening and closing the mouth several times before forming words
· Swallowing excessively
· Taking a deep breath and letting it out again slowly
· A blank look, a slack expression
· Wilting posture
· Scratching at the cheek, rubbing one’s chin
· Asking for affirmation: “Are you sure?”
· Tapping a fist against the lips lightly while thinking
· Denial—shaking head, repeating “No”, warding someone off

Win your readers’ hearts by tailoring your character’s emotional responses so they’re compelling, credible, and realistic.

If you struggle with writing emotions like so many writers do, you’ll be happy to know that this sample has been expanded into book form. The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. For more information on this bestselling book and where it can be found, please visit our bookstore.

And the news gets better: we’ve added 15 entries to this collection, including grief, lust, and self-loathing. To access these, simply visit our online library at One Stop For Writers. There, you’ll find all 90 entries from our popular Emotion Thesaurus, which have been updated and enhanced to provide even greater value. Users also enjoy the flexibility of cross-referenced material for easy searchability across all of our completed thesaurus collections. Interested in viewing a sample? Register for free at One Stop, and see what this innovative online library can do for your storytelling.


Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Confusion

  1. skywriter says:

    Thanks so much for creating this site! You have helped me make many scenes come to life.

  2. Sherry says:

    These are great!

    Although I wish you had examples in all your posts. It would help to get ideas on how to work these gems into the narrative. 🙂

  3. bell-E says:

    How bout expressions for one who is deep in thought? or for one who just had a light bulb moment?

  4. Becca says:

    Oh, the dreaded narrowed eyes. If your characters are going to get whiplash, mine are going to be stuck in a permanent squint. 🙂

  5. Mary Witzl says:

    I’ve been here before and I think this emotional thesaurus is a great idea.

    My characters have a lot of confusion, and my protagonist especially does. So many bitten lips, narrowed eyes, darting glances and — most of all — shaken heads. I’ve got to watch the shaken heads, in fact; at the rate they’re going, they’ll all get whiplash.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *