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.
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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.