When it comes to emotion, sometimes we need a brainstorming nudge. After all, each character will express their feelings differently depending on their personality, emotional range, and comfort zone. We hope this short, sample list of expressions will help you better imagine how your character might show this emotion!
If you need to go deeper, we have detailed lists of body language, visceral sensations, and mental responses for 75 emotions in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.
- body slumping, losing its stiff posture
- shaky laughter
- a slow smile
- falling back into a chair
- asking/demanding someone to repeat good news
- asking a redundant question to assure that the moment is real
- eyes that go up, looking heavenward
- letting out a huge breath
- rocking back and forth
- a slight moan
- lips parting
- showing emotion/kinship toward others (hugging, reaching for their hands)
- pressing a palm to the heart
- briefly bowing the head
- closed eyes, compulsive nodding…
Win your readers’ hearts by tailoring your character’s emotional responses so they’re compelling, credible, and realistic.
If you struggle with writing emotions, you aren’t alone. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression has helped writers all over the globe, and it can help you. To find out more about this bestselling book, please visit our bookstore.
Prefer the flexibility of instant online access and greater searchability?
The Emotion Thesaurus is also at our sister site, One Stop for Writers. There, we’ve expanded the entries to include many more emotions such as grief, lust, and self-loathing. Visit the Emotion Thesaurus Page to view our complete list of entries.
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