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.
· Repeating a statement as a question
· Leaning in, sliding a chair closer
· A small, delighted smile
· A shift from mediocre conversation to pointed questions
· A softened voice or tone
· Prying or snooping
· Straining to hear, shushing others to be quiet
· Wide eyes
· Pushing one’s glasses up and tilting the body toward the object of curiosity
· A gasp of wonder
· Moving toward something to witness it, forgetting one’s original destination
· Lips parting slightly
· Slowed breaths…
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!
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.
Definetaly a great help for writers!
Ooo! these are cool. Especially for the writer/illustrator. The body language, the visuals. Good stuff! I’m be visiting on Thursdays.
Mary Witzl says
Yes, these are very helpful!
I often act these things out. I try to picture what I’d do in my characters’ place. I get so tired of dropped jaws, crossed arms and rolled eyes.
Wow – these are good. Thanks! This will definitely help in my writing.
That’s great Donna! I’m momzilla over there, so feel free to say hi!
If I haven’t said it before, I say it now. Thanks for these thesauruses (thesaurii?). They really do help and once I get to editing my WIP these will certainly be right next to me. I’ve also joined Critique Circle! Not much done there yet but I’m getting to it.
Thanks for chiming in, guys! We like to hear that the ET continues to be useful to writers!
Anne Spollen says
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anne Spollen says
Wish they taught English/writing classes with stuff like this. Neat!
Bish Denham says
I concur with c.r.evers 100%!
C.R. Evers says
I love these thesaurus Thursdays! There’s so many times I think “how many ways can I say . . . .
Now, when I get stuck, I’ll come over and check out your blog! :0)