Emotion Thesaurus Addendum: Pain (Physical)

  • Probing the pained area and wincing
  • Hobbling about, taking tentative steps
  • Breaths that shudder
  • Leaning back and grimacing
  • Expelling a grunt or pained hiss at exertion
  • Medicating
  • Trying to sleep it off
  • Short-temperedness
  • Fainting or blacking out
  • Trembling limbs
  • Pale, blotchy skin
  • Glassy eyes
  • Feeling cold or feverish
  • Biting the lip
  • Distracting gestures (flapping a hand, tapping a foot, nodding one’s head)…

Turn up the heat on your protagonist by adding conditions that will alter his mood and make him more emotionally reactive.

Like making things tough on your characters? Then you’ll be happy to know that this collection of entries has been expanded into a $1 ebooklet called Emotion Amplifiers. This companion to The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression is a body language tool for describing your character’s pain, stress, illness, hunger, dehydration, attraction, and other conditions that amplify an emotional reaction. Please visit our bookstore to find out where you can download your copy.

To make life even easier for writers, all of the entries from Emotion Amplifiers—including a few new additions—have been integrated into our online library, One Stop For WritersThis enhanced collection will help add tension and conflict to your scenes and is cross-referenced for easy searchabilityTo view these entries along with our other description thesauri, head on over and register for free at One Stop.


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.
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14 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Addendum: Pain (Physical)

  1. Pingback: Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Suffering | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  2. annie says:

    This is amazing! Helped me extremely. Couldn’t have been better.. Thank you so much! 😀

  3. Anonymous says:

    I stumbled upon this site about a year ago and have been using it as one of my favorite resources ever since. I just thought I’d suggest an example of phsyical pain for you, if it’s not already on there… I wouldn’t be surprised if it was, this is a long list and you have everything. But I thought maybe someone would arch their back in pain?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

    Sorry for offtopic

  5. Bish Denham says:

    Angela, I have nominated you and Becca for the Kreativ Blog award. Check my blog for details!

  6. As ever thanks for this. You’re lifesavers.

  7. Kelly says:

    This post must have hurt! :0)
    Great ideas!

  8. Mary Witzl says:

    I’ve got a 14-year-old hypochondriac sitting with me right now; she’s got stomach cramps and I do believe that she’s run through the entire gamut of your pain thesaurus… Fortunately, she’s not always like this, though I wouldn’t have to come back to this posting if she were!

  9. Bish Denham says:

    Once again, excellent! Thanks.

  10. GutsyWriter says:

    How do you keep coming up with these poignant expressions? Thank you so much.

  11. Did you ever see the Seinfeld episode when Elaine went on an ! craze?

    I thought you just used those to be more expressive.


    “It hurts!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  12. PJ Hoover says:

    Thank you for continuing to post these!
    They are beyond helpful.

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