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Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Frustration

Emotion Frustration

When you want to write the emotion frustration, 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.

Frustration is a common emotion that arises from the feeling of being thwarted, blocked, or hindered from achieving a desired goal or outcome. It can manifest as a sense of disappointment, anger, or despair, and can be caused by a range of factors such as external circumstances, personal limitations, or internal conflicts. Frustration can be a powerful motivator for change, but it can also lead to negative consequences if not managed effectively. As a writer, it is important to understand the nuances of this complex emotion in order to create more compelling and relatable characters.

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

Different Types of Frustration

Here are some different types of frustration:

  • Impatience with oneself or others
  • Feeling stuck or trapped in a situation
  • Difficulty achieving a desired outcome
  • Feeling overwhelmed or overloaded with tasks
  • Disappointment with a lack of progress or success
  • Irritation with external factors or people
  • Feeling blocked or unable to express oneself effectively
  • Sense of inadequacy or self-doubt
  • Anger or resentment towards a person or situation

Situations Associated with Frustration

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

  • Facing a difficult problem or obstacle that seems impossible to solve
  • Being stuck in a situation that feels unfair or out of their control
  • Dealing with someone or something that consistently hinders their progress or success
  • Feeling unappreciated or undervalued despite their efforts
  • Experiencing repeated failures or setbacks
  • Not having their expectations met, either by themselves or others
  • Being forced to wait for something they want or need
  • Feeling overwhelmed or overworked
  • Being unable to communicate effectively with others

Physical Reactions to Frustration

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

  • Clenched fists or jaw
  • Grinding teeth
  • Heavy sighing or deep breathing
  • Pacing back and forth
  • Tapping fingers or feet
  • Furrowed eyebrows or scowling
  • Fidgeting or restlessness
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Raised voice or yelling
  • Slamming doors or objects
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Interrupting others or talking over them

Thoughts Associated with Frustration

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing frustration might have:

  • Why can't I get this right?
  • I'm so sick of this.
  • What's the point?
  • I feel like I'm hitting a wall.
  • Why does this always happen to me?
  • I'm getting nowhere fast.
  • I just can't seem to figure it out.
  • This is such a waste of time.
  • I'm so close, yet so far away.

Atmosphere of Frustration

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

  • Use sensory details to describe the setting: For example, describe the oppressive heat of a crowded subway car or the loud, chaotic atmosphere of a busy airport.
  • Use language that conveys a sense of confinement or restriction: Use words like "trapped," "stuck," or "hemmed in" to describe the setting and make the reader feel as frustrated as the character.
  • Show obstacles or barriers: Use physical obstacles like closed doors or crowded spaces to create a sense of frustration in the character.
  • Use dialogue and body language: Have the character express their frustration through dialogue or body language. For example, they could sigh heavily, roll their eyes, or mutter under their breath.
  • Use pacing and structure: Use short, choppy sentences or paragraphs to create a sense of urgency and frustration.
  • Show the character's internal thoughts: Use the character's internal monologue to show their growing frustration with their situation.

Verbs Associated with Frustration

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

  • Grind
  • Aggravate
  • Bother
  • Irritate
  • Anger
  • Enrage
  • Infuriate
  • Annoy
  • Vex
  • Provoke
  • Exasperate
  • Disappoint
  • Displease
  • Upset

Emotions Before Frustration

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

  • Confusion
  • Disappointment
  • Impatience
  • Irritation
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Overwhelm
  • Inadequacy

Emotions After Frustration

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

  • Anger
  • Disappointment
  • Resentment
  • Impatience
  • Helplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Defeatism
  • Bitterness
  • Envy
  • Jealousy
  • Depression

Telling Frustration Examples to Avoid

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

  • John was feeling frustrated with his boss's constant micromanaging.
  • Mary was frustrated that she couldn't find her car keys.
  • The team was frustrated that they kept losing the game.
  • Sarah was frustrated with her slow progress on her novel.
  • Tom was frustrated that his computer kept crashing.
  • Jane was frustrated with her husband's forgetfulness.
  • The customer was frustrated with the long wait time on the phone.
  • David was frustrated that he couldn't solve the math problem.
  • Lisa was frustrated with her lack of success in her career.

Practical Examples of Showing Frustration

Here are some examples of showing frustration in a sentence:

  • She banged her fists against the keyboard as the document refused to save.
  • He paced back and forth in the tiny room, muttering to himself about the broken lock.
  • She let out a deep sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose as the phone continued to ring.
  • He threw his hands up in the air and groaned as the traffic came to a complete stop.

Exercises for Showing Frustration

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing frustration:

  • Write a scene where the character tries to fix something but keeps failing.
  • Describe a character who is stuck in traffic and running late for an important meeting.
  • Write a dialogue where a character is trying to explain something to another character who just doesn't get it.
  • Describe a character who is waiting in a long line for something they really need.
  • Write a scene where the character is trying to accomplish a task but keeps getting interrupted or distracted.
  • Describe a character who is dealing with a difficult boss or co-worker.
  • Write a scene where a character is dealing with a malfunctioning technology or equipment.
  • Describe a character who is trying to navigate a complex bureaucracy or process.
  • Write a dialogue where a character is trying to negotiate a deal but keeps hitting roadblocks.

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

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