RESOURCE Emotions and Words to Express Them

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by ElBell, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. As of recent, I've noticed a trend of characters reacting to situations with the same responses over and over, post after post. Sure, a little pink in the cheeks or shouting can be very fitting for some scenes, but does your character really need to scream like a wild animal every time they get hurt, or cry like an infant at everything they're scared by? What you chose to do is all very situation-based and relies on context, but if you're finding yourself typing the same reactions and reaction words one too many times, this list of alternatives may be helpful!

    For the sake of convenience in both typing this and reading this, all the reactions are sorted alphabetically to match the emotion or emotions they would fit with, and each list contains 25 reactions. Also note I tried to avoid all the 'standard' words people use, so words you right away think of for an emotion are not on this list for a reason.

    ✗Anger/Hatred✗
    Attacked
    Bellowed
    Cried
    Darkened
    Exasperated
    Exploded
    Filled
    Flamed
    Fought
    Frowned
    Glared
    Glowed
    Groaned
    Hissed
    Huffed
    Reddened
    Scowled
    Screamed
    Seethed
    Shook
    Snapped
    Sobbed
    Squirmed
    Whined
    Yelled

    ✘Disgust/Distaste✘
    Averted
    Avoided
    Complained
    Corrected
    Coughed
    Cried out
    Cringed
    Cursed
    Dirtied
    Displeased
    Groaned
    Huffed
    Irritated
    Loathed
    Muttered
    Put off
    Repulsed
    Rolled their eyes
    Scowled
    Screamed
    Shocked
    Shuttered
    Sighed
    Snapped
    Sneered


    ◀︎Embarrassment/Humiliation►
    Aggressive
    Argued
    Chuckled
    Covered their face
    Cried
    Defensive
    Flushed
    Froze
    Exasperated
    Groaned
    Hid
    Huffed
    Laughed
    Mumbled
    Panicked
    Played with their hair
    Protested
    Ran
    Shook
    Shook their head
    Shouted
    Sighed
    Upset
    Whimpered
    Whined


    ✸Fear/Panic✸
    Battled
    Consumed
    Cowered
    Cried
    Defeated
    Escaped
    Felt trapped
    Flailed
    Froze
    Gasped
    Hesitated
    Hid
    Hopeless
    Moaned
    Panicked
    Paused
    Ran
    Screamed
    Screeched
    Shaken
    Shook
    Shuddered
    Stumbled
    Wailed
    Whimpered


    ✥Guilt/Shame✥
    Admitted
    Caught
    Consumed
    Cried
    Denied
    Dwelled
    Eaten
    Faked
    Filled
    Fought
    Frantically
    Froze
    Grew nervous
    Lied
    Lingered
    Overcome
    Owned up
    Panicked
    Quieted
    Rambled
    Snapped
    Squirmed
    Trapped
    Turned away
    Worried


    ❀Joy/Happiness❀
    Bounced
    Cackled
    Celebrated
    Chuckled
    Clapped
    Cried
    Danced
    Exclaimed
    Eyes widened
    Gasped
    Glowed
    Grinned
    Guffawed
    Jumped
    Laughed
    Nodded
    Pleased
    Purred
    Rejoiced
    Screamed
    Sighed
    Squealed
    Tearing up
    Thanked
    Wiggled

    ❤︎Love/Affection❤︎
    Bit their lip
    Blinked
    Blushed
    Daydreamed
    Fantasized
    Flirted
    Gasped
    Giggled
    Hugged
    Hummed
    Kissed
    Laughed
    Leaned on
    Looked away
    Nodded
    Pecked
    Reddened
    Shied away
    Sighed
    Smiled
    Snuggled
    Stuttered
    Trusted
    Winked
    Wished


    ❦Lust/Pleasure/Desire❦
    Begged
    Bit their lip
    Curled up
    Demanded
    Eyes rolled back
    Fantasized
    Flaunted
    Flirted
    Groaned
    Growled
    Moaned
    Panted
    Pleaded
    Purred
    Scratched
    Screamed
    Sighed
    Squirmed
    Stripped
    Suggested
    Teased
    Threw their head back
    Whimpered
    Whined
    Winked


    ✕Pain/Discomfort✕
    Ached
    Agonized
    Arched their back
    Blurred
    Cried out
    Cringed
    Dizzied
    Enraged
    Fainted
    Fired up
    Gasped
    Grimaced
    Howled
    Huffed
    Moaned
    Panted
    Slowed
    Squirmed
    Thrashed
    Throbbed
    Tormented
    Twitched
    Weakened
    Whimpered
    Yelped

    ⊗Sadness/Loss⊗
    Agonized
    Blanked
    Collapsed
    Cried
    Defeated
    Denied
    Depressed
    Disappeared
    Disbelief
    Emptied
    Eyes got wet
    Gave up
    Hid
    Hopeless
    Rampaged
    Refused
    Screamed
    Screeched
    Shook
    Shut down
    Sobbed
    Sulked
    Wailed
    Whimpered
    Whined


    ⊱Guilt/Shame⊰
    Admitted
    Caught
    Consumed
    Cried
    Denied
    Dwelled
    Eaten
    Faked
    Filled
    Fought
    Frantically
    Froze
    Grew nervous
    Lied
    Lingered
    Overcome
    Owned up
    Panicked
    Quieted
    Rambled
    Snapped
    Squirmed
    Trapped
    Turned away
    Worried


    ⭐︎Shock/Surprise⭐︎
    Amazed
    Blanked
    Covered their mouth
    Disbelief
    Dumbfounded
    Exclaimed
    Eyes widened
    Fainted
    Gaped
    Grew upset
    Grinned
    Hummed
    Hyperventilated
    Impressed
    Laughed
    Laughed
    Overwhelmed
    Ran
    Shouted
    Sobbed
    Stopped
    Stumbled
    Stuttered
    Turned to stone
    Whistled
     
    #1 ElBell, Oct 13, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
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  2. Note also that context matters.

    "She cried." Versus "she cried quietly, wrapping her arms around her brother and breathing softly as she welcomed him home." Versus "she cried hard and loud, tears streaming down her cheeks and ruining her makeup."

    The word "cried" is the same in all three, but the context in which it is used changes certain factors, such as volume and intensity.

    Also, certain words don't quite fit right in the emotion categories. One can mumble out of annoyance, one can mumble secretively, one can mumble suggestively--it doesn't necessarily connote embarrassment.

    Aside from that, fantastic list of alternate word choices. Bookmarking for later.
     
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  3. I'm aware of all of this, hence why some words appear multiple times and whatnot (also, I mention in my first paragraph that what you use is up to you. So I did note how context is important ^.^). I could've gone over hundreds of words for this and all the context options and everything, but this is just a start for people to extend beyond their own person 5 words or so. In the case of mumbled, I know it denotes a lot, so it should be in a few lists. I tried to veer away from 'standard' reactions, so while someone may often mumble in annoyance, I probably left it out to add in another less commonly used word~
     
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  4. Thank you! I've been looking for something like this for some time! :D
     
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  5. For more visual representations, emotion wheels and Robert Plutchik’s diagram of emotions are things I was introduced to in a different context, but can also be useful guidelines for figuring out how a character feels more exactly to help provide more detailed or subtle reactions. They're definitely not perfect, but are good as a sort of emotional estimate.
     
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  6. [​IMG]
    Don't underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE!

    I think creating context and appropriate atmosphere is equally important as what emotional descriptor(s) you use.

    You've got a pretty good thesaurus up there, although I'm not sure how 'filled' or 'glowed' would describe anger/hatred (unless you meant 'glowered'?)

    I can't think of anything to add at the moment, but I think this list might benefit from more organization. You've got a mix of 'body language cues', 'words to say instead of said', 'words to say instead of walked' and general thesaurus results up there, and it's cool to have those resources together in the same place, but it might be easier to use if they were sorted within categories
     
  7. Of course body language is huge! But we already have a workshop on that, don't we? I didn't want to copy it since I'm sure I saw it, though I do think using these two resources together would be much better than one or the other.

    Categories? Like what? I personally don't have the time to do much more to this, but I mean if you have ideas I don't mind at least listening to them.
     
  8. Well, like I said, I love that these resources are all gathered together, but it's a bit confusing/difficult to read when you've got actions a character could perform, descriptors for the atmosphere, descriptors for speech, descriptors for physical feelings, and more all crammed together without context/'how you would use it' for each item. Emotions are present in almost everything, and there are so many ways to describe them like what a character says, what they think about, how they say it, at what volume, what they do, what happens to their body internally and externally, the atmosphere/mood of the scene, etc. because there are so many choices beyond simple adjectives, it helps to organize them.

    It might be helpful if there were some subcategories describing the context you would use the items in. Especially because, as has been pointed out, some words can describe many different feelings, and it may not be immediately apparent without context, how a word fits the emotion it's listed under.

    as an example:

    Anger/Hatred

    Sounds
    (words you could use to describe the sound or tone of a persons speech or other sounds (screams, etc).)
    Attacked
    Bellowed
    Cried
    Exploded
    Flamed
    Fought
    Groaned
    Growled
    Hissed
    Huffed
    Screamed
    Seethed
    Snapped
    Sobbed
    Whined
    Yelled

    Actions/visuals (things a character might do, or that people can see.)
    Clenched fists
    Darkened
    Frowned
    Glared
    Glowered
    Ground teeth
    Lowered eyebrows
    Reddened
    Scowled

    Shook
    Squirmed
    Tight jaw

    Feelings (General descriptors for the emotion or mood.)
    Angry
    Dark
    Exasperated
    Frustrated
    Grumpy
    Hateful
    Loathing
    Mean
    Seething
    Spiteful



    (Added a bunch)​
     
    #8 Minibit, Nov 2, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  9. That's a great idea, but I just don't have time >.< already this took me almost a week to compile. But if you or anyone else likes, go ahead and take over to fix it. I guess I'm just not good enough to make these just yet~
     
  10. Oh don't be so down on yourself! It's great, and almost nothing is perfect on the first go. You should see the edit log on my workshops!

    I can help with it, if you like the idea.
     
  11. I really do, and I'd love some help if you're willing to give it! Maybe start up a PM or something of the sort?