Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Envy

Emotion Envy

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

Envy is an emotion that arises when we desire something that someone else possesses, whether it be a possession, a quality, or a circumstance. It's the feeling of discontent or bitterness that can arise when we feel that someone else's advantages or successes should have been ours. Envy can be a complex and powerful emotion that can lead to negative thoughts and behaviors if left unchecked. However, it can also be a useful emotion that can motivate us to work towards our own goals and aspirations.

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

Different Types of Envy

Here are some different types of envy:

  • Resentment towards someone who possesses something desirable that the character lacks
  • Jealousy of someone's achievements, status or possessions
  • Bitterness towards someone who has received recognition or praise for something that the character believes they deserve
  • Coveting something that someone else has, whether it be a physical object, relationship, or experience

Situations Associated with Envy

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

  • Witnessing someone else's success or accomplishments
  • Comparing oneself to others and feeling inferior
  • Feeling left out or excluded from a group or activity
  • Feeling like someone else is receiving preferential treatment
  • Being passed over for a promotion or opportunity
  • Seeing someone else in a happy relationship or with a loving family
  • Feeling like someone else has something that the character wants or needs
  • Being constantly reminded of someone else's achievements or possessions
  • Feeling like someone else is more talented, attractive, or popular

Physical Reactions to Envy

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

  • Facial expressions like scowling, sneering, or rolling the eyes
  • Clenched fists or jaw
  • Averting eye contact or staring intently at someone or something
  • Mimicking the actions or possessions of others
  • Constantly comparing oneself to others and feeling inadequate
  • Being overly critical or dismissive of others' achievements or success
  • Gossiping or spreading rumors about others to bring them down
  • Sarcasm or passive-aggressive comments aimed at others

Thoughts Associated with Envy

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing envy might have:

  • Why do they get all the attention?
  • I wish I had what they have.
  • It's not fair that they have it and I don't.
  • I've worked so hard, but they have it easy.
  • I can't stand seeing them succeed.
  • They don't deserve it as much as I do.
  • I wish I could be them.
  • I hate feeling this way, but I can't help it.
  • I'm not good enough compared to them.

Atmosphere of Envy

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

  • Use descriptions of luxurious or extravagant settings to evoke feelings of envy in characters or readers.
  • Contrast the protagonist's modest surroundings with the opulence of a rival character's environment to create a sense of jealousy or inadequacy.
  • Describe characters' body language and facial expressions to convey envy, such as a clenched jaw or narrowed eyes.
  • Use dialogue to reveal characters' jealous thoughts or words, such as sarcastic comments or passive-aggressive remarks.
  • Incorporate sensory details to immerse readers in the scene and evoke envy, such as the smell of expensive perfume or the taste of a decadent dessert.
  • Use metaphors or similes that evoke envy, such as comparing a character's home to a palace or describing a rival character as a "golden child."
  • Use foreshadowing to hint at future events that will trigger envy, such as a character's success or fortune.

Verbs Associated with Envy

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

  • Covet
  • Crave
  • Desire
  • Long
  • Lust
  • Yearn
  • Jealous
  • Grudge
  • Resent
  • Begrudge
  • Envy
  • Green-eyed
  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Stare
  • Longing
  • Pinch
  • Clutch
  • Grasp

Emotions Before Envy

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

  • Happiness
  • Excitement
  • Joy
  • Satisfaction
  • Contentment
  • Gratitude
  • Amusement
  • Curiosity
  • Interest
  • Surprise
  • Anticipation
  • Hope
  • Eagerness
  • Confidence
  • Pride
  • Admiration
  • Love
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Sympathy
  • Forgiveness
  • Acceptance
  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Graciousness

Emotions After Envy

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

  • Resentment
  • Bitterness
  • Frustration
  • Discontentment
  • Jealousy
  • Inferiority complex
  • Self-doubt
  • Anger
  • Hatred
  • Guilt

Telling Envy Examples to Avoid

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

  • She was envious of her friend's new car.
  • He was envious of his coworker's promotion.
  • She felt envious when she saw her neighbor's beautiful garden.
  • He was envious of his brother's successful career.
  • She was envious of her classmate's artistic talents.
  • He couldn't help but feel envious of his friend's luxurious lifestyle.
  • She was envious of her sister's happy relationship.
  • He felt envious of his teammate's athletic abilities.
  • She was envious of her colleague's popularity in the office.

Practical Examples of Showing Envy

Here are some examples of showing envy in a sentence:

  • She couldn't help but stare at her friend's new designer handbag, feeling a pang of envy in her chest.
  • His eyes lingered on the couple dancing together, wishing he could have a relationship like that, envy boiling inside him.
  • She scrolled through her social media feed, feeling a surge of envy as she saw her peers' impressive accomplishments.
  • He watched his colleague get promoted to a higher position, feeling envious of his success and wondering why he hadn't been chosen.

Exercises for Showing Envy

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing envy:

  • Think of a time when you felt envy towards someone else. Write a short scene in which your character experiences a similar situation.
  • Develop a backstory for your character that includes a significant experience that led to their envy. Write a short story or scene that illustrates this experience.
  • Write a character profile that explores your character's personality and traits that are commonly associated with envy, such as jealousy, resentment, and bitterness.
  • Use sensory details to show how your character reacts physically to their envy. For example, describe their racing heart, clenched fists, or the way their face turns red.
  • Explore the ways in which your character's envy affects their relationships with others. Write a scene in which your character's envy causes them to act in a way that damages a relationship.
  • Use dialogue to reveal your character's envy. Write a conversation in which your character expresses their envy to another character.
  • Consider the consequences of your character's envy. Write a scene that shows how their envy leads them to make a decision that has negative consequences.
  • Use symbolism to represent your character's envy. For example, use the color green or the image of an eye to represent envy in a scene.
  • Write a letter from your character to the person they envy. In the letter, have your character express their feelings of envy and the impact it has on them.

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

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