Emotion Thesaurus Addendum: Exhaustion

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
  • Numbness
  • Silence
  • 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.

Grab this ebooklet for $1.99. You can find it, along with all of our bestselling guides, at our bookstore.

Prefer the flexibility of instant online access and greater searchability?

Emotion Amplifiers is also at our sister site, One Stop for Writers Visit the Emotion Amplifier 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. 🙂


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. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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[…] Conveying Exhaustion […]

11 years ago

Hey, my skin’s greasy even when I’m not tired!

11 years ago

Hey Angela – Very Timely – Had to stay awake for 44 straight hours – into Christmas Eve – 30some odd hours a few days before that, as part of my drive from Chicago to Pennsylvania (to visit the kids)after working all day & then Pa to Florida (after visitin’ me mum) to get home mid-day Christmas Eve (after 11 killer weeks in Chicago). I’m still beat. My mother chided me yesterday with the “You’re not getting any younger” line. That made me feel just great. Hope you had a terrific Christmas.

Mary Witzl
11 years ago

Ooh, exhaustion: I’ve been up far too long tonight and I’m already there. For once I could almost add to your thesaurus!

11 years ago

On account of Christmas, I’m putting this entry out a day early. Happy Holidays!!