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, dialogue cues, and mental responses for 130 emotions in the 2019 expanded second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.
· Chin dipping to the chest
· Lips pressing tight, eyes focusing inward
· Looking up with hands raised in the ‘why me?’ position
· Collapsing onto a chair or bench
· Weaving slightly
· Avoiding other peoples’ eyes, going stone-faced
· Eyes tearing up
· Eyes closing, squeezing shut for a moment
· A wincing, pained expression
· Looking around in confusion
· Attempting to hide (assuming the fetal position, covering the head with the arms)
· Clutching at oneself (gripping elbows, rubbing arms, clenching hands)
· A stomach that drops, a sudden feeling of nausea
· Pressing a hand to the abdomen
· Anger or violence (cursing loudly, hitting something, a tense walk in a small circle)…
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.
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