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, and mental responses for 75 emotions in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.
- Letting out an uncontrollable cry, sob, or whimper
- Dropping something, spilling something (slopping tea, dishes chattering together as you carry them)
- Becoming angry or argumentative
- Mental numbness
- A glassy stare, a glazed look
- Retreating inward
- Wanting/needing to be alone
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Assuming the fetal position
- Crumpling onto the floor
- Waving someone away (hand flapping)
- Putting the hands over the ears
- Giving oneself over to tears through anguish or grief…
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. There, we’ve expanded the entries to include many more emotions such as grief, lust, and self-loathing. Visit the Emotion Thesaurus Page to view our complete list of entries.
If you’re ready to elevate your storytelling, stop by sometime to see if our one-of-a-kind tools and resources can help you. Registration is always free. 🙂