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.
· Shoulders back, chest out, chin lifted
· Giving a half-shrug and a grin that conveys agreement or secret knowledge
· Comfortable being in close proximity to others or initiating contact
· Telling jokes, adding to or steering a conversation
· Hosting an event or activity (a BBQ, getting the guys together for a football game)
· Bragging, obsessively talking about an achievement or material object (winning a game, a new car, etc)
· Reacting with anger or jealousy if one’s reputation is impugned
· Doing or saying things outside of the norm without anxiety or concern
· Leaning in to talk or listen
· Maintaining good eye contact
· Lots of physical contact, touchy-feely
· Running the hands through the hair, flipping one’s hair
· Assuming a pose that’s sexy, appealing, or draws attention to one’s best attributes
· Wearing clothes that are flashy or dramatic…
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.