If you want to add tension and complication, an Emotional Amplifier might be just the ticket. This companion to The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression is a body language tool for describing your character’s pain, stress, illness, hunger, dehydration, attraction, and other conditions that amplify an emotional reaction. We hope this short, sample list of expressions will help you better imagine how an amplifier makes your character more emotionally volatile…and prone to mistakes.
If you need to go deeper, we have an ebooklet of Emotional Amplifiers that contains imaginative lists of ways to show how this condition will affect your character’s mental and physical state.
- Drifting focus
- Shuffling steps that scuff the floor
- Fumbling, clumsiness
- Bowed shoulders
- Squeezing the eyes shut, then opening them wide in an effort to stay awake
- Rolling the neck from side to side to loosen kinks
- The gaze turning repeatedly to a bed or sofa
- Stretching, shaking one’s limbs
- Rereading the same page
- Turning up a radio or TV for noise
- Listening but not hearing
- Haggard appearance (smeared make-up, matted hair, unshaven cheeks)…
Turn up the heat on your protagonist by adding conditions that will alter his mood and make him more emotionally reactive.
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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.