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Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Bewilderment

Emotion Bewilderment

When you want to write the emotion bewilderment, 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 emotional tells and immerse your readers in your story.

Bewilderment is a feeling of confusion, disorientation, or perplexity that arises when a person encounters something unexpected, unclear, or beyond their understanding. It is characterized by a sense of being lost or uncertain about what to do or how to react to a situation. Bewilderment can be triggered by a variety of events or circumstances, such as a sudden change of plans, a difficult problem, or a surprising revelation. In literature, bewilderment can be a powerful tool for creating tension, suspense, and intrigue, as it keeps the reader engaged and wondering what will happen next.

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

Different Types of Bewilderment

Here are some different types of bewilderment:

  • Disorientation: feeling lost and confused, unsure of what to do or where to go
  • Perplexity: feeling puzzled or mystified, unable to understand or make sense of a situation
  • Shock: feeling stunned or surprised by unexpected news or events
  • Uncertainty: feeling unsure about something, lacking confidence or clarity in one's thoughts or actions

Situations Associated with Bewilderment

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

  • Being suddenly thrust into a new and unfamiliar environment
  • Receiving unexpected news or information that is difficult to process
  • Witnessing something that defies their understanding of the world
  • Being betrayed or lied to by someone they trusted
  • Encountering a situation where their expectations are not met
  • Feeling lost or directionless in their life or relationships
  • Experiencing a sudden loss or trauma that they struggle to come to terms with
  • Being confronted with a moral or ethical dilemma that challenges their beliefs or values
  • Feeling like they are in over their head or out of their depth in a particular situation

Physical Reactions to Bewilderment

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

  • Furrowed eyebrows
  • Open mouth or dropped jaw
  • Wide eyes
  • Head tilted to the side
  • Slow movements
  • Stuttering or stumbling over words
  • Confused facial expressions
  • Lost or wandering gaze
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Pacing or fidgeting
  • Asking repetitive questions
  • Seeking reassurance or guidance from others

Thoughts Associated with Bewilderment

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing bewilderment might have:

  • I don't understand what's happening.
  • This doesn't make any sense.
  • I feel lost and confused.
  • I can't believe what I'm seeing.
  • Why would they do that?
  • I thought I knew them better than this.
  • My mind is racing with questions.
  • I'm struggling to find any explanation.
  • I feel like I'm in a dream.

Atmosphere of Bewilderment

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

  • Use a setting that is unfamiliar or disorienting to the character. For example, a character who has never been to a big city before might feel bewildered by the noise and crowds.
  • Create an atmosphere of confusion or chaos. This could be achieved through descriptions of a messy or cluttered space, or by having multiple characters talking at once.
  • Use sensory details to convey a sense of disorientation. For instance, a character might feel bewildered by the overwhelming smells and sounds of a bustling marketplace.
  • Play with the lighting to create a disorienting effect. For example, a character might feel bewildered by flickering lights or shadows that seem to move on their own.

Verbs Associated with Bewilderment

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

  • Staggered
  • Confounded
  • Perplexed
  • Flabbergasted
  • Disoriented
  • Baffled
  • Astounded
  • Dumbfounded
  • Nonplussed

Emotions Before Bewilderment

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

  • Confusion
  • Surprise
  • Shock
  • Disbelief
  • Amazement
  • Astonishment
  • Uncertainty
  • Perplexity
  • Disorientation

Emotions After Bewilderment

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

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Curiosity
  • Intrigue
  • Suspicion
  • Doubt
  • Uncertainty
  • Insecurity
  • Vulnerability
  • Helplessness

Telling Bewilderment Examples to Avoid

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

  • She was bewildered by what had just happened.
  • He stared blankly at the page, bewildered.
  • The complexity of the problem left her feeling bewildered.
  • The sudden change in circumstances left him feeling completely bewildered.
  • She couldn't understand why he had reacted that way and was left feeling bewildered.
  • The unexpected news left him feeling bewildered and unsure of what to do next.
  • The maze of hallways left her feeling bewildered and lost.
  • He was completely bewildered by the strange noises coming from the other room.
  • The sudden disappearance of her keys left her feeling bewildered and frustrated.

Practical Examples of Showing Bewilderment

Here are some examples of showing bewilderment in a sentence:

  • She stumbled backwards, her eyes wide and uncomprehending.
  • He furrowed his brow, trying to make sense of the chaos around him.
  • The room spun and twisted before her, leaving her feeling lost and disoriented.
  • He blinked rapidly, as if trying to dispel the confusion clouding his mind.

Exercises for Showing Bewilderment

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing bewilderment:

  • Describe a situation in which your character experiences a sudden and unexpected change of events. Write about their thoughts and reactions as they try to make sense of what's happening.
  • Write a scene where your character receives shocking news or a surprising revelation. How do they respond? What questions do they ask? Do they struggle to process the information?
  • Imagine your character in an unfamiliar environment or situation. Write about their confusion and attempts to understand what's going on around them.
  • Create a character who is faced with a moral dilemma or ethical conflict. Write about their inner turmoil as they try to reconcile their beliefs with the situation they find themselves in.
  • Write a scene where your character is lost or disoriented. How do they react? Do they panic or try to stay calm? What thoughts go through their mind as they try to find their way?

These exercises and prompts can help writers explore the different facets of bewilderment and create more nuanced and realistic characters. Remember to focus on the character's emotions, thoughts, and reactions, and to use sensory details to bring the scene to life.

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

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