Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Guilt

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.

GUILT

· Muttering to oneself tearfully
· A cracking voice
· Rapid, fevered apologies
· A flight response—running away, unable to deal with the consequences
· Sweating
· Paranoia that others know or are passing judgement
· Nervous fidgeting (picking at nails, squirming in chair, a scattered gaze that bounces around)
· Darting glances at the person you have wronged
· Following or stalking the one wronged, trying to convince oneself to confess
· Causing pain to oneself as penance
· Insomnia
· Paleness, a harried or haunted look
· Self-loathing
· Growing steadily reclusive, cutting oneself off from others…

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.

If you’re ready to elevate your storytelling, stop by sometime to see if our one-of-a-kind tools and resources can help you. Registration is always free. 🙂

About BECCA PUGLISI

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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3 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Guilt

  1. Pingback: Description 911: Over Expressed Emotions | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  2. Bish Denham says:

    The Emotion Thesaurus continues to rock!

  3. Angela says:

    Great list.

    What do you think of:
    Trouble Sleeping
    Repetitive behavior

    There’s also something…something elusive about guilt… what is it -when a teacher in a room with 30 odd younger children can state the crime and the guilt it THERE played out on the face of the kid(s).

    Sometimes you can read it on someone’s face (esp. the young kids). But this post made me wonder…what is it? Skin blanching, pupils dilating, frozen type of face?

    lover ur blog!

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