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.
·Lips pinched together
·Spinning away in a huff
·Refusing to apologize, or giving a forced apology
·Rolling one’s eyes
·A dark look, giving someone the “stink eye”
·Displaying anger (shoving someone, breaking something)
·Shouting, “Fine then!” or “Whatever!” or even “I hate you!”
·Locking oneself into a bedroom or bathroom
·Showing defiance (not doing homework, refusing to help out or do chores, refusing to eat)
·Experiencing vengeful thoughts towards others
·A desire to spoil other peoples’ moods
·Pretending to zone out to an iPod or TV in order to avoid a question
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.
Julie Musil says
I love telling you when I use these pages, and I just used this one! Thanks for being a life (and manuscript) saver 😀
Mary Witzl says
Ah, yes — you’ve got it down right once again, but this emotion I know well! This one I too could write out in my sleep. One of the big advantages of having a couple of teenage daughters…
Have you been spying on my nine-year-old? Good list! (As always)
Ha, I have kids! This one was pretty easy for me, once I got going. I just took a stroll down Memory Lane…
PJ Hoover says
Love it! You’ve nailed it again.
And I love how you include things that would take more than one sentence to say. Like refusing to do chores and stuff like that!
Gee… I have a character who acts just like this…