I’ve needed to do his for a while… so I did. And I figured if I needed it, you might.
This is a list of things words and phrases to convey fear in a character (some are more for nervousness but that’s an offshoot of fear, more or less.
(We’ve discussed writing effective emotions before HERE but didn’t make a list of words for it.)
We probably need one for every emotion, and as creative types I’m sure we can think them up for ourselves.
Add to this list and feel free to start a new list with words and phrases to express whatever you’re struggling with. I’ll cut-paste them all into a big post or several small posts.
TIP: USE SHORTER SENTENCES for the fearful part
TIP: think of what you do when the emotion happens, and then play it back in your mind and write down what you see. An example follows at the end. Feel free to add your own.
TIP: find pictures of the emotion you need to describe and then write down what you see.
Pounding heart – my go to, and hence the list
heart hammered against his ribs
heart in throat
mouth drops open
groan in fear
back away from something
walk slowly toward something (creep)
Cover mouth with hand
Electricity shoots through stomach
adrenaline shoots through stomach
adrenaline shoots through mouth
Hands out holding wall if backed up to one
mouth goes dry
white knuckles when holding something
face goes pale/blood drains out of face
cry or almost cry
fidget: tug at clothes, play with pen, crack knuckles
speak with a stammer or hesitation
squirm in chair
shift weight on feet
adjust collar or necktie
rub back of neck
cover head with hands
cover head with blanket
jump, as in startled
say “Oh my god!” or just about any other expletive
pee your pants (sorry)
kick the thing scaring you
frozen in place with fear
sweat runs down temple or forehead
avoid eye contact
tapping your toe
tapping your fingers on a table or steering wheel
rocking back and forth
hunch over or slouch
can’t think straight
Can’t breathe/the fear is choking me
Shiver down spine
Hairs stand up on the back of your neck
A desperate desire to be elsewhere
Knees get weak
Hide under table
Cringe, raising shoulder to protect face/head – may be the same as slouching to some people
When somebody jumps out and yells “Boo!” you jump back, your jaw drops open, your eyes widen, you get ready to flee
you grab your chest, say, “Oh, my god!” exhale, bend over a little, grab the wall to balance yourself, say, “Shit, you scared the hell out of me!”
you take deep breaths or laugh. Or punch the person.
What are some that YOU can think of, or emotions we need a list for?