Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Apprehension

Emotion Apprehension

When you want to write the emotion apprehension, it's important to "show" the emotion your character is experiencing through their physical reactions and dialogue, rather than "tell" it. In this article we provide you with inspiration so you can avoid showing instead of telling and immerse your readers in your story.

Apprehension is a feeling of anxiety or fear that something bad may happen in the future. It is a sense of unease, often accompanied by a physical sensation such as a racing heart or sweaty palms. Apprehension can arise from a variety of situations, such as the anticipation of an exam, a job interview, or a visit to the dentist. It can also be triggered by vague or unknown factors, such as a sense of impending danger or a feeling of unease in an unfamiliar environment. Apprehension is a complex emotion that can have both positive and negative effects on an individual's behavior and decision-making.

  1. Different Types of Apprehension
  2. Situations Associated with Apprehension
  3. Physical Reactions to Apprehension
  4. Thoughts Associated with Apprehension
  5. Atmosphere of Apprehension
  6. Verbs Associated with Apprehension
  7. Emotions Before Apprehension
  8. Emotions After Apprehension
  9. Telling Apprehension Examples to Avoid
  10. Practical Examples of Showing Apprehension
  11. Exercises for Showing Apprehension

Different Types of Apprehension

Here are some different types of apprehension:

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Unease
  • Dread
  • Fearfulness
  • Suspicion
  • Paranoia
  • Timidity
  • Hesitation

Situations Associated with Apprehension

Here are some situations where a character might experience the emotion of apprehension:

  • A character is about to take a big risk or make a life-changing decision.
  • They are facing a challenging obstacle or a difficult task.
  • The character is in an unfamiliar or dangerous situation.
  • They are anticipating a negative outcome or consequence.
  • The character is experiencing a sense of uncertainty or lack of control.
  • They have a fear of the unknown or fear of failure.
  • The character is facing a deadline or pressure to perform.
  • They have experienced a traumatic event in the past that triggers their apprehension.
  • The character is aware of potential danger or harm to themselves or someone else.

Physical Reactions to Apprehension

Here are some physical reactions a character experiencing apprehension might have:

  • Pacing or fidgeting
  • Sweating or trembling
  • Increased heart rate or shallow breathing
  • Avoiding eye contact or looking around nervously
  • Clenched fists or jaw
  • Nausea or stomach discomfort
  • Restlessness or inability to sit still
  • Stuttering or stumbling over words
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Heightened sense of alertness or vigilance
  • Tendency to be jumpy or easily startled
  • Expressions of worry or concern on the face
  • Tension in the shoulders or neck

Thoughts Associated with Apprehension

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing apprehension might have:

  • What if I fail?
  • I'm not sure if I can handle this.
  • I have a bad feeling about this.
  • What if something goes wrong?
  • My heart is pounding in my chest.
  • I can't stop worrying about the outcome.
  • I feel like I'm walking on eggshells.
  • I don't know if I'm ready for this.
  • I feel like something bad is about to happen.

Atmosphere of Apprehension

Here are some ways that you might reflect the emotion of apprehension in the atmosphere of your scene:

  • Use dark or dim lighting to create a sense of unease or mystery.
  • Incorporate natural elements such as fog, rain, or thunder to create a foreboding atmosphere.
  • Use a setting that is isolated or abandoned, such as an empty house or deserted street.
  • Include ominous sounds, such as creaking floorboards or distant footsteps, to create tension.
  • Use a setting that is associated with danger or fear, such as a graveyard or abandoned asylum.
  • Include threatening objects or symbols, such as a knife or a skull.
  • Use a setting that is unfamiliar or disorienting, such as a maze or a dream-like landscape.
  • Incorporate a sense of claustrophobia or confinement, such as being trapped in a small space or underground.
  • Include other characters who are also apprehensive or fearful, to create a sense of shared anxiety.

Verbs Associated with Apprehension

Here are some verbs commonly associated with the emotion of apprehension:

  • Tremble
  • Hesitate
  • Quiver
  • Shudder
  • Worry
  • Dread
  • Panic
  • Fret
  • Unease
  • Nervousness
  • Anticipation
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Trepidation

Emotions Before Apprehension

Here are some emotions that may come before a character experiences apprehension:

  • Curiosity
  • Excitement
  • Interest
  • Anticipation
  • Hopefulness
  • Nervousness
  • Unease
  • Suspicion

Emotions After Apprehension

Here are some emotions that may come after a character experiences apprehension:

  • Relief
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Nervousness
  • Paranoia
  • Dread
  • Panic
  • Unease
  • Insecurity

Telling Apprehension Examples to Avoid

Here are some examples of telling the emotion apprehension in a sentence. You should avoid things like this:

  • She felt apprehensive about the upcoming meeting.
  • John was filled with apprehension as he walked through the dark alley.
  • She couldn't shake the feeling of apprehension that had settled over her like a cloud.
  • The thought of being alone in the dark filled her with apprehension.
  • His voice trembled with apprehension as he spoke about the upcoming surgery.
  • As soon as she heard the news, apprehension filled her.
  • The sight of the storm clouds approaching filled her with apprehension.
  • The more she thought about it, the more apprehensive she became.
  • The feeling of apprehension lingered with her long after the danger had passed.

Practical Examples of Showing Apprehension

Here are some examples of showing apprehension in a sentence:

  • My hands shook as I reached for the doorknob.
  • His heart pounded in his chest as he stared at the dark alleyway ahead.
  • She couldn't help but glance over her shoulder every few seconds as she walked down the empty street.
  • The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as he heard a strange noise in the distance.

Exercises for Showing Apprehension

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing apprehension:

  • Describe a character's physical reactions to the source of their apprehension (e.g. sweating, trembling, racing heartbeat).
  • Write a scene where a character is waiting for something uncertain to happen, and focus on their internal thoughts and feelings.
  • Have a character receive bad news or a threat, and show how they react and cope with it.
  • Write a scene where a character must face a fear or phobia, and show their apprehension leading up to the moment of confrontation.
  • Put a character in an unfamiliar or dangerous situation, and show how their apprehension affects their decision-making.
  • Have a character overhear a conversation or witness an event that makes them feel uneasy or suspicious, and show how they react and investigate.
  • Write a scene where a character must navigate a social situation where they feel out of place or uncomfortable, and show their apprehension in their interactions with others.

Want more help with showing emotion instead of telling? You find more help in our full set of emotions.

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