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 deep sniff while lifting the chin
·Apt dialogue that sums up the situation perfectly
·Saying “I told you so”
·Taking deep breaths, savoring the moment
·Casually anchoring a hand on the hip
·Stretching the arms out wide and taking a deep breath
·Warmth spreading throughout body
·Happiness over work done well, euphoria
·Whistling, humming, contentment
·A quick nod to oneself or another for completing a project…
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.
No, the lines that are more evident on either side of your nostrils when you smile. My mistake is that I read a book on plastic surgery (not because I wanted any, but because it sounded like an interesting topic) and suddenly I noticed things about my face that I hadn’t seen before. Even the lines, which are called nasolabial folds.
But at least the book made me realize that growing old gracefully is better than the alternative.
You mean tan lines from your glasses, Marian?
I recently had a vacation, and I used one day to give myself a makeover (short fashionable haircut and contacts). When I went back to work, my coworkers said ooh and aah, and I found myself looking into every reflective surface with this pleased little Mona Lisa smile (that expression of glowy confidence in your list).
That was when I noticed I had these little lines on either side of my nose.
Way to bring me back down to earth, little lines. 😉
PJ–That would be our mind control at work. You’ve been forgetting to wear your tinfoil hat lately…muahahaaa.
PJ Hoover says
No way! Twice this week I’ve surfed over and checked for Satisfaction. You’ve answered my subliminal calls.
Gutsywriter: Great to hear how the ET is helping!
Just_me: I know! I think I picked up a lot of the negatives from recently reading ‘Golden’ By Jennifer Lynn Barnes (popular crowd cutthroat type plot). Because of that, I may have missed some obvious ‘nice examples’ so if you can think of anything I missed, please add it to the commets, with my thanks!
Some of these are very mean examples of satisfaction, but they’re true :o)
Your are amazingly helpful with the ways you offer writers how to “show vs. tell.” That was a major problem for me and yesterday I read a chapter after having revised it for the 10th time, using your emotional thesaurus and received so many compliments on how listeners could see and feel my story. Thanks again for another great entry.