Shades Of Emotion – Creating Characters


When I found this useful list of precise words for feelings by Gina Senarighi in her post, How to Express Yourself Clearly, I realised how imprecise we can be as writers. We say sad without considering the tone of the sadness. We talk about being afraid without describing the shade of the fear.

The best writing comes from choosing precise words that say exactly what you mean. When you want to describe your character’s emotional state, there is a huge difference between being afraid with a tinge of terror, and being afraid with an inch of insecurity.

Our important characters drive our stories. We spend a lot of time creating characters. We sometimes don’t spend enough time thinking about their emotional reactions beyond the obvious.

Use this chart to help you find the word you need. Try to be specific when you describe your characters’ feelings. You r readers will identify with these emotions. Remember the importance of showing this through body language.

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

by Amanda Patterson

© Amanda Patterson

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This article has 1 comment

  1. carla b abela

    wonderful tool to develop one’s cache of words for better understanding and be understood! thanks

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