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.
· A hard, obvious swallow
· Wetting the lips and giving a jerky nod of assent
· Hands half-curling into fists, then straightening
· A grimace, a pained look
· Eyebrows squeezing together, a focused inward look of discomfort
· Hand fluttering to the lips or neck, as if to cover
· Nervous habits (running a hand through the hair, pacing, rubbing one’s hands together)
· Moving toward an exit, creating distance from another
· Changing the topic, diverting attention
. Closed body language (hands up in front, feet poised to back up or turn away)…
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?
TIP: While you’re there, check out our hyper-intelligent Character Builder that helps you create deep, memorable characters in half the time!