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.
- Forearm muscles appearing cut from stone
- Thoughts of violence, playing out fantasies of violence or humiliation
- Bitter, seething words meant to provoke
- A black mood that no one can dispel
- A pinched face, frigid features, mouth twisted into a snarl or sneer
- Spitting in someone’s face, at their feet or in their direction
- Rash decisions, impaired judgment
- Single-minded focus on how to destroy another
- Starting hateful gossip
- An inability to enjoy positive things or happiness
- Angry tears
- Cursing, swearing
- A scathing tone
- A shaking, rage-filled voice
- Promising or declaring to another that you will destroy them/make them pay…
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.
That’s why we started this Thesaurus; we both found ourselves using the same old phrases to describe our character’s emotions. Making a list helped us so much we thought it might help others, too.
I find this list interesting and informative. I didn’t know there were so many ways to define hatred. Many people would probably write – he was seething with hatred – but just saying that doesn’t properly define the characters experience and motivation now does it?
Thanks so much for visiting, everyone!
I swear, once you have all these done, the first thing I thought of was “my that would be a great book”. I wish your blog well and tons of traffic because its one of the most interesting ones I have read lately.
Thanks for the invitation, and the comfy chair.
I’m going to bookmark this blog too. Nice job.
vendetta…yes, I have one of those. I love the hatred thesaurus (is that strange?)! Thanks for the post.
auria cortes says
I book marked this blog. Excellent work.
The new idea for a blog sounds interesting, angela. Description can be tricky. I’m looking forward to reading that one as well.
Kelly - PTT says
This is AWESOME! What a great focus for your blog! And you’re very good at finding excellent ways to write the same emotion. Thanks so much!
We’re glad to have you, Grace :).
oh my goodness, these “emotion thesaurus” things are fantastic. I’m glad I found you guys. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by! Yes, we blog a few posts each week, rather than daily. Our Thesaurus is always posted on Thursdays, however.
When this one is complete, we’ll start a new one that highlights a different area of description that writers may struggle with. Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂
Razib Ahmed says
Wow, so many things are related to “Hatred”. Thanks for it. I spent 5 minutes reading it. You have an interesting blog but the entries are a bit sporadic.