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Writing Ideas and Prompts


Julia H. West's Writing Ideas and Prompts

Character Moods or Emotions

Your character can be more than just "happy" or "sad." Check these lists for emotions that are stronger, more exact, or just plain more interesting than overused emotional tags. If you want to compare intensity of emotions, from high to mild, try this table. If you just need a random emotion for a character, got to the random emotion page.

Happy: festive, contented, relaxed, calm, complacent, satisfied, serene, comfortable, peaceful, optimistic, joyous, ecstatic, enthusiastic, inspired, glad, pleased, grateful, cheerful, excited, optimistic, lighthearted, carefree, playful, elated, jubilant, thrilled

Sad: depressed, low, dismal, dreary, dull, moody, sulky, defeated, pessimistic, hopeless, melancholy, somber, despairing, miserable

Hurt: offended, upset, disappointed, heartbroken, crushed

Angry: annoyed, irritated, cross, frustrated, grumpy, angry, provoked, offended, indignant, hostile, irate, furious, fuming, enraged

Afraid: fearful, frightened, timid, cautious, concerned, apprehensive, alarmed, nervous, anxious, worried, hesitant, threatened, scared, petrified, terrified

Loving: accepting, understanding, sharing, affectionate, close, warm, tender, passionate

Interested: eager, enthusiastic, intrigued, absorbed, excited, inquisitive, intent, earnest, fascinated, engrossed

Confident: calm, secure, independent, brave, loyal, courageous, strong, respected, empowered

Doubtful: uncertain, hesitant, indecisive, wavering, insecure, skeptical, dubious, suspicious, distrustful

Shame: uncomfortable, embarrassed, humiliated, dependent, weak

Miscellaneous: puzzled, confused, torn, jealous, envious, distant, evasive, stubborn, impulsive, cruel, preoccupied, bored, powerless, helpless, humble, shocked, uninformed, disregarded

Physical Indicators of Strong Emotion: tense, breathless, nauseated, fatigue, shaky, cold or hot, fast heartbeat, headaches, lack of appetite

Last updated 18 June 2011

Illustration from; photographer mconnors