Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Reluctance

· A hard, obvious swallow
· Wetting the lips and giving a jerky nod of assent
· Hands half-curling into fists, then straightening
· A grimace, a pained look
· Eyebrows squeezing together, a focused inward look of discomfort
· Hand fluttering to the lips or neck, as if to cover
· Nervous habits (running a hand through the hair, pacing, rubbing one’s hands together)
· Jumpiness
· Moving toward an exit, creating distance from another
· Changing the topic, diverting attention
. Closed body language (hands up in front, feet poised to back up or turn away)…

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.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Reluctance

  1. Pingback: Emotion Thesaurus Entry Collection (Samples) | Writers Helping Writers

  2. Angela says:

    Thanks everyone for all the great feedback on this new thesaurus. 13 K–WOW! My record is around 6K…I feel like such a slacker!

  3. Don Crane says:

    Your writing is so colorful and clear. Thanks for sharing. Hope to be back often. Thanks, Don

  4. Oh I soo need this today, have just written 13,000 words and used shaking every time my protagonist got into trouble… now i’ve got more words to play with on the edit…

  5. Becca says:

    Maybe we could do a thesaurus entry on other words for love:

    I “heart” this.
    I want to marry this.
    If Oprah visited my blog, it would become one of her ‘favorite things’.

  6. Lapillus says:

    Awesome as always!

  7. PJ Hoover says:

    I need to make a standard “I love this” response. But I’m a bit reluctant to. Could you tell from how I wet my lips and gave a jerky nod of assent?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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