Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Despair

Emotion Despair

When you want to write the emotion despair, 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 emotions and immerse your readers in your story.

Despair is a feeling of complete hopelessness, a deep sense of sadness, and a loss of faith or confidence in oneself and the future. It is a state of mind that can be triggered by a variety of circumstances, such as failure, loss, rejection, or a sense of being trapped in a difficult situation with no way out. Despair can be overwhelming and can lead to a sense of paralysis, making it difficult to take action or find a way forward.

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

Different Types of Despair

Here are some different types of despair:

  • Hopelessness
  • Powerlessness
  • Defeat
  • Resignation
  • Grief
  • Depression
  • Desperation
  • Abandonment
  • Isolation

Situations Associated with Despair

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

  • Losing a loved one or experiencing a significant personal loss
  • Failing at a goal or task that was important to them
  • Feeling trapped in a difficult or painful situation with no apparent solution
  • Being betrayed or let down by someone they trusted
  • Experiencing a traumatic event or significant trauma in their past
  • Feeling powerless or helpless in the face of a challenging situation
  • Feeling like they have no purpose or direction in life
  • Feeling like they are not living up to their own expectations or the expectations of others
  • Feeling like they are alone or isolated, without support or connection to others.

It's important to note that there are many different factors that can contribute to a character feeling despair, and that each character's experience of this emotion may be unique based on their individual circumstances and personality.

Physical Reactions to Despair

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

  • Slouching posture
  • Heavy sighs and deep breaths
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Tearfulness or crying
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Decreased appetite or overeating
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Self-isolation or withdrawal from social situations

Thoughts Associated with Despair

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing despair might have:

  • I can't do this anymore.
  • What's the point in trying?
  • I'm worthless.
  • I'll never be good enough.
  • It's never going to get better.
  • I don't see a way out.
  • I'm so alone.
  • I'm a failure.
  • Why bother?
  • I'm trapped.
  • I'm so tired of feeling this way.
  • I don't think anyone cares about me.
  • I'm just going to mess everything up again.

Atmosphere of Despair

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

  • Use dark and gloomy settings to reflect the feeling of hopelessness and sadness that comes with despair
  • Incorporate imagery that evokes feelings of sadness and emptiness, such as rain, abandoned places, or broken objects
  • Create an atmosphere of isolation and loneliness by making the character feel disconnected from the world around them
  • Use metaphors and similes that reinforce the feeling of despair, such as comparing the character's heart to a stone or their thoughts to a black hole
  • Incorporate sensory details that emphasize the character's emotional state, such as describing the taste of tears or the heaviness of a sigh

Verbs Associated with Despair

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

  • Cry
  • Sob
  • Weep
  • Wail
  • Lament
  • Sigh
  • Mourn
  • Grieve
  • Brood
  • Sulk
  • Withdraw
  • Numb
  • Collapse
  • Crumble
  • Shatter
  • Surrender
  • Yield
  • Give up
  • Lose hope
  • Desolate
  • Devastated
  • Crushed
  • Heartbroken
  • Defeated

Emotions Before Despair

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

  • Sadness
  • Grief
  • Disappointment
  • Hopelessness
  • Frustration
  • Loneliness
  • Helplessness
  • Abandonment
  • Rejection

Emotions After Despair

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

  • Hopelessness
  • Loneliness
  • Anguish
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Resentment
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Bitterness
  • Numbness
  • Apathy
  • Indifference
  • Disinterest

It's important to note that these emotions may vary depending on the individual and their situation.

Telling Despair Examples to Avoid

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

  • She felt an overwhelming sense of despair as she realized she had lost everything.
  • He tried to hide his despair from his friends, but they could see it in his eyes.
  • Sarah's heart was heavy with despair as she watched the love of her life walk away.
  • The weight of his despair was almost too much to bear as he contemplated his bleak future.
  • She couldn't shake the feeling of despair that had settled over her like a dark cloud.
  • His voice was heavy with despair as he spoke of his failed dreams and lost opportunities.
  • The sense of despair was palpable in the air as the town struggled to recover from the devastating storm.
  • She tried to put on a brave face, but the despair she felt was evident in her trembling hands.
  • The despair in his eyes was mirrored in hers as they both realized their relationship was over.

Practical Examples of Showing Despair

Here are some examples of showing despair in a sentence:

  • She curled up in a ball on the floor, tears streaming down her face, as the weight of her failures crushed her.
  • He stared blankly at the wall, the darkness of his thoughts suffocating him.
  • She let out a guttural scream, the sound of her pain echoing through the empty room.
  • He felt a heavy knot in his chest, as if all hope had been ripped away from him.

Exercises for Showing Despair

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing despair:

  • Start with a character who has experienced a significant loss or setback. Write a scene that shows them grappling with their emotions as they try to come to terms with what has happened.
  • Write a letter from the character to someone they have lost, expressing their feelings of grief and despair.
  • Create a journal entry from the character's perspective, detailing their feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  • Write a scene where the character is forced to confront their despair head-on, perhaps through an intervention or therapy session.
  • Give the character a physical manifestation of their despair, such as an illness or addiction, and explore how it affects their behavior and relationships.
  • Write a scene where the character finds a glimmer of hope amidst their despair, whether it's through a chance encounter, a meaningful conversation, or an unexpected act of kindness.
  • Explore the character's backstory to uncover the root cause of their despair, and use this information to inform their actions and reactions throughout the story.
  • Write a scene where the character must make a difficult decision that could either alleviate or exacerbate their feelings of despair.

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

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