I recently purchased The Emotional Thesaurus through Amazon. I haven’t explored it thoroughly, but from what I’ve seen, it’s going to be very helpful.
How do you write anger, joy, desperation, despair, or denial? Let’s look first at how the book is laid out. The emotion is at the top of a two-page spread. A definition is given, followed by a LOT of physical signals, in other words, describing what a person does who feels this emotion.
Then, the authors change to the character’s Point of View (we’ll get into that sometime, too.) Internal Sensations, such as: “A heart that feels like it’s shrinking. A clenching stomach. Sudden onset of nausea. A tightening chest. Breaths that hitch. A heaviness in the body.” What is this person feeling? I’ll tell you in a minute.”
Mental Responses, tell you what the character is thinking: “Negativity, A feeling of dread or hopelessness. Defeatist thoughts about oneself. Wanting to be alone. Feeling worthless.”
Cues of Acute or Long-Term (affects of this emotion): “Berating oneself. Wallowing (drinking too much, listening to depression songs), Obsessing over why things happened the way they did. An inability to move on. This is followed by an alert! MAY ESCALATE TO…” and four other emotions are listed.
Cues of Suppressed (emotion): “A slight lip press. Dropping the shoulders, then hitching them up again. Offering false cheer, a weak smile. Comforting others. Citing a backup plan or listing more options. Making promises. Clasping one’s hands in one’s lap. Congratulating the victor.”
“WRITER’S TIP: Characters experiencing raw emotion often react without thinking – either through dialogue or action. Rash behavior creates the perfect storm for increased tension and conflict.”
So what is this person feeling?
If you said disappointment, you’re right. I was astounded how accurate it is. I told you the other day I got another rejection over the weekend. This time from a publisher. It was a very nice rejection, possibly the nicest worded one I’ve gotten in a long time. But a rejection is still a rejection. Unfortunately, I’m was feeling some of these especially the mental responses, the long-term and suppressed. Wow. What an eye opener.
I have to say though – that I’m learning to overcome and recover quicker. I’m healing emotionally, because I believe God is with me and helping me with that; and I’ve got a great network of writer friends who continually encourage me to keep on keeping on. So I say the same to you – whether you’re writing, or just living life – keep on keeping on. Things will change. “This too, shall pass.” Blessings.