I recently order the book The Emotion Thesaurus as a tool to escape the redundancy of human feelings when writing about characters. It’s pretty handy, not only does it give definitions but also gives you physical signals, internal sensations and even cues for suppression of that feeling.
Every Friday I’m going to cover an emotion that I’ll pick based on the feeling I have that day. It gives me something to write about and will encourage me to study the word and also how I’m feeling.
Today I am feeling anticipation.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot think of the word “Anticipation” without also thinking of Rocky Horror Picture Show. You’ll have to click to understand why.
The definition of anticipation is: Hopeful expectation; to await eagerly.
I’m going to list a few of the physical signals that I happen to be experiencing:
Being unable to think or talk about anything else
Closing eyes and squealing
Checking and rechecking email
Phoning or texting friends to talk about what’s coming.
There are other signals like sweaty palms, pacing, leaning in, clock watching and many many more that you’ll have to buy the book to find out. But the book is great at giving you a large list of actions your character can exhibit when you try to convey a certain emotion. So instead of writing Jacque feels anticipation you may write Jacque clicks the send and receive button several times on her email, then paces back and forth before finally settling across the room and literally staring at the clock. Big difference. Especially if you are doing NaNoWriMo and trying to boost your word count 😉
Later the book breaks emotions down as root emotions and what they can then lead to.
Anticipation May Escalate to: Excitement, jealousy, disappointment.
Perhaps you don’t know where your character is going to go from where they started. You might not be sure how they should feel after the initial emotion. This can give you a clue as to what comes next and also points you to the page you need to flip to in order to explore the escalated emotion more.
Enough about the book Jacque, how are YOU feeling?
Thank you for asking! It’s been a really long time since I’ve felt anticipation. Life has been complicated as of late and I feel like it just might be possible that things are going to slow down, get calm and sail smoothly for awhile. I just need a little while so I can catch my breath.
I’ve realized as you get older life gets a little bit harder. People around you get older, sicker…die. And you find yourself thinking…maybe I shouldn’t put salt on that because there is a history of high blood pressure in my family. That is shit I NEVER thought about when I was younger. So after a tough year that came after a crappy year, I am really ready for some smooth sailing. And I think it’s coming! I anticipate exciting things on the horizon and I hope to goodness I don’t find myself disappointed when I get there. Do you see how I used those two escalating emotions? If so, give yourself a gold star!
And there is your word of the day. Anticipation. What is your word for today? What emotion might it lead to? If you care to comment, please do so below.