The Emotion Thesaurus - Deepstash
The Emotion Thesaurus

The Emotion Thesaurus

Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi

10 ideas

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917 reads

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3 Elements Of Nonverbal Communication

3 Elements Of Nonverbal Communication

1. Physical signals

2. Mental responses

3. Internal sensations

15

171 reads

Physical Signals

Physical Signals

  • How our bodies respond outwardly when we experience emotion.
  • The stronger the feeling, the more the body reacts
  • Characters are unique and each one may use different physical signals

15

119 reads

Mental Responses

Mental Responses

  • Offers a window into the thought process.
  • Mental responses are not always rational
  • An excellent way to convey to the reader how a character sees their world
  • An excellent way to demonstrate voice

15

104 reads

Internal Sensations

Internal Sensations

  • The most powerful form of nonverbal communication and should be used with the most caution.
  • Instinctive, raw and uncontrolled, triggering the fight-or-flight response
  • Will be felt by readers at a primal level
  • Relying too much on internal sensations can create melodrama, therefore a light touch is needed as a little goes a long way

14

101 reads

Common Problems in Nonverbal Communication

Common Problems in Nonverbal Communication

1. Telling

2. Cliché emotions

3. Melodrama

4. Over-reliance on dialogues or thoughts

5. Misusing backstory to enhance reader empathy

14

97 reads

1. Telling

1. Telling

Nonverbal communication cannot be told; it must be shown.

You don’t want the reader to only see what’s happening; you want them to feel the emotion, and to experience it along with the character.

Examples of telling:

  • Mr. Paxton’s eyes were sad as he gave her the news.
  • Instantly, JoAnne was angrier than she’d ever been in her life

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73 reads

2. Cliché emotions

2. Cliché emotions

  • Cliches are a sign of lazy writing
  • Create your own observations instead of falling back on clichés
  • Think about your body and what happens to it when you’re feeling a certain emotion
  • You may also observe people in real life or in movies/tv shows to see how they express emotion
  • Some notable changes: person’s voice, speech, or overall bearing and posture
  • Know your character; some may shout, while others may go completely silent

Examples of cliché emotions:

  • The grin that stretches from ear to ear
  • A single tear pooling in the eye before coursing down the cheek
  • Quivering knees that knock together

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68 reads

3. Melodrama

3. Melodrama

  • Melodrama leads to a sense of disbelief in the reader because, in real life, emotion isn’t always so demonstrative
  • To avoid melodrama, recognize that emotions run along a continuum, from mild to extreme as emotions vary in strength
  • Make sure that your character’s feelings progress realistically

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64 reads

4. Over-reliance on dialogues or thoughts

4. Over-reliance on dialogues or thoughts

  • Emotion is much more effectively conveyed through a mixture of dialogue, thoughts, and body language
  • Avoid over-using exclamation points to show intensity
  • Check if some action is needed to breakup the dialogue
  • Check if the character should be saying something instead of staying silent and just thinking about the emotion
  • When expressing emotion, vary your vehicles, using both verbal and nonverbal techniques for maximum impact

14

56 reads

5. Misusing backstory to enhance reader empathy

5. Misusing backstory to enhance reader empathy

  • Excessive backstory slows the pace and can bore reader
  • In order to avoid using too much backstory, determine which details from your character’s past are necessary to share

15

64 reads

CURATED BY

CURATOR'S NOTE

Readers have high expectations. They don’t want to be told how a character feels; they want to experience the emotion for themselves. To make this happen, we must ensure that our characters express their emotions in ways that are both recognizable and compelling to read.

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