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.
· Flinching away, recoiling
· Bringing a hand up to cover one’s mouth
· Eyes that appear cold, dead, flat
· A feeling of nausea, a heaving stomach
· Demanding another to stop speaking or desist what they are doing
· Feeling dirty or soiled, just by be being in the presence of the one who causes the disgust
· Using a purse or jacket to create a shield between oneself and the person causing discomfort
· A desire to flee
· Avoiding touches, brushes, stepping back to stay beyond the other person’s reach
· Shunning, evasive answers
· A curling lip
· A pale cast to one’s face, a pallor over the features
· Excessive saliva, having to swallow
· A choking or uncomfortable swallow
· Curling away from another if lying prone
· Turning away, spinning on a heel…
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. Visit the Emotion Thesaurus Page to view our complete list of entries.
TIP: While you’re there, check out our hyper-intelligent Character Builder that helps you create deep, memorable characters in half the time!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Here’s some Karma for you lovely ladies! Tag! You’re it! Check my blog for more info. Ha!
FAntabulous!!! Keep it up!
Thank Laurie for us for sending you over, Kimber An :).
Bish Denham says
The Emotional Thesaurus continues to rock. Great stuff.
LOL, I know what you mean, Kimber an. I love the dancing pic of you in the red dress, btw!
Kimber An says
Laurie sent me over here and I’m so glad! Descriptions are one of my worst weaknesses as an author. It’s like I can see it in full color in my head, why can’t you? (cue rolling of eyes here)
Mary Witzl says
I love the one about using a purse or a jacket to create a shield between oneself and the offender. I did this with a bunched-up sweater. (Or rather, my protaganist did…)
How about that little clicking noise some people make — a sort of tsssk — uttered with one lip drawn up? And yes, spitting on the ground is body language at its finest and really says it all!
Well, we didn’t know if we wanted to go there…but that’s what the comments are for–so you guys can!
What, you didn’t add puking?