Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Confusion

Emotion Confusion

When you want to write the emotion confusion, 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 show; don't tell and immerse your readers in your story.

Confusion is a state of mind characterized by a lack of understanding or comprehension. It is a feeling of being uncertain or disoriented, often accompanied by a sense of being overwhelmed or perplexed. Confusion can arise from various sources such as conflicting information, complex situations, or unexpected events. It can also manifest as a result of emotional turmoil or mental health issues. In storytelling, confusion can be a powerful tool to create tension and suspense, as well as to reveal character flaws and motivations.

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

Different Types of Confusion

Here are some different types of confusion:

  • Perplexity: feeling unsure or uncertain about a situation
  • Disorientation: feeling lost or lacking direction
  • Bewilderment: feeling completely puzzled or confused
  • Ambiguity: feeling unsure about the meaning of something
  • Indecision: feeling unable to make a decision
  • Dilemma: feeling caught between two conflicting options
  • Cognitive dissonance: feeling conflicting thoughts or beliefs
  • Information overload: feeling overwhelmed by a large amount of information

Situations Associated with Confusion

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

  • Being presented with conflicting information or conflicting values
  • Facing a situation that is unpredictable or unexpected
  • Confronting a problem that is complex or multi-faceted
  • Dealing with a difficult decision or choice
  • Experiencing a major life change or transition
  • Being in an unfamiliar or new environment
  • Interacting with people who have different opinions or perspectives
  • Struggling to understand or learn something new
  • Feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated by sensory input

Physical Reactions to Confusion

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

  • Furrowed brows
  • Puzzled expression
  • Quizzical gaze
  • Tilting of the head
  • Fidgeting or restlessness
  • Hesitation in movements or speech
  • Stammering or stuttering
  • Repeating questions or statements
  • Pausing or trailing off mid-sentence
  • Asking for clarification or repetition
  • Seeking reassurance or guidance from others
  • Appearing lost or disoriented
  • Overthinking or analyzing situations

Thoughts Associated with Confusion

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing confusion might have:

  • I don't understand what's happening
  • I thought I knew what to do, but now I'm not so sure
  • This doesn't make sense
  • I feel lost
  • Maybe I'm overthinking this
  • I can't seem to make a decision
  • What if I'm wrong?
  • I'm second-guessing myself
  • I need more information

Atmosphere of Confusion

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

  • Use unclear or ambiguous descriptions of the setting or atmosphere, such as describing a room as "dimly lit" without specifying the source of the light or the objects in the room.
  • Create a chaotic or disorganized environment, such as a cluttered desk or a room with mismatched furniture.
  • Use conflicting sensory details to create a sense of confusion, such as describing a room as both hot and cold, or using conflicting sounds or smells.
  • Introduce unexpected or unexplained elements into the setting or atmosphere, such as a strange object or an unexplained noise.
  • Use repetition or circular descriptions to create a sense of being stuck or going in circles, such as describing a character walking through a maze-like environment.
  • Incorporate elements of the unfamiliar or surreal, such as a character experiencing a dream-like state or encountering unusual creatures or objects.

Verbs Associated with Confusion

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

  • Stumble
  • Fumble
  • Puzzle
  • Baffle
  • Perplex
  • Flounder
  • Hesitate
  • Dither
  • Stagger
  • Struggle
  • Waver
  • Vacillate
  • Bewilder
  • Disorient
  • Misunderstand
  • Muddle
  • Mix-up

Emotions Before Confusion

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

  • Curiosity
  • Surprise
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Panic
  • Overwhelm
  • Doubt
  • Disbelief
  • Disappointment
  • Betrayal
  • Embarrassment
  • Insecurity
  • Suspicion
  • Indecision

Emotions After Confusion

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

  • Clarity
  • Relief
  • Understanding
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Curiosity
  • Excitement
  • Awe
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Disappointment

Telling Confusion Examples to Avoid

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

  • I was so confused by his actions.
  • She couldn't understand what was happening.
  • He was bewildered by the sudden turn of events.
  • She had no idea what to do next.
  • He was at a loss for words.
  • She felt disoriented and unsure of herself.
  • He couldn't make sense of the conflicting information.

Practical Examples of Showing Confusion

Here are some examples of showing confusion in a sentence:

  • She blinked rapidly, trying to make sense of the jumbled words on the page.
  • He tilted his head to the side, as if the answer to the riddle would magically appear.
  • The room spun around her, making it impossible to focus on anything.
  • She frowned and squinted, trying to understand the instructions on the label.

Exercises for Showing Confusion

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing confusion:

  • Write a scene where your character is lost in a new city and can't find their way back to their hotel.
  • Imagine your character discovering a hidden room in their house that they never knew existed.
  • Write a dialogue between two characters where one is trying to explain a complex concept to the other.
  • Describe a situation where your character is torn between two equally important choices.
  • Write a scene where your character wakes up with no memory of the previous night and has to piece together what happened.
  • Imagine your character encountering a situation that challenges their beliefs or values.
  • Write a scene where your character is trying to solve a puzzle or riddle, but can't quite figure it out.
  • Describe a moment where your character suddenly realizes they've been lied to or deceived.
  • Write a dialogue where your character is struggling to understand a foreign language or dialect.

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

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.