Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Hopelessness

Emotion Hopelessness

When you want to write the emotion hopelessness, 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.

Hopelessness is a feeling of despair or pessimism that arises from the belief that a situation is so bad that there is no chance of improvement or success. It is a state of mind where a person feels helpless and powerless to change their circumstances, leading to a sense of resignation and defeat. Hopelessness can be a challenging emotion to deal with, and it can be a debilitating force if left unchecked. However, it is important to remember that hopelessness is not a permanent state, and that there are always ways to find hope and optimism in even the most difficult situations.

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

Different Types of Hopelessness

Here are some different types of hopelessness:

  • Despair
  • Powerlessness
  • Defeatism
  • Helplessness
  • Futility
  • Resignation
  • Pessimism
  • Nihilism
  • Dejection

Situations Associated with Hopelessness

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

  • Experiencing a significant loss, such as a death of a loved one or a breakup
  • Failing to achieve a long-term goal despite multiple attempts
  • Feeling trapped in a difficult situation with no foreseeable way out
  • Constantly facing obstacles and setbacks in pursuing one's dreams
  • Being rejected or isolated by others, leading to a sense of loneliness and despair
  • Struggling with a chronic illness or disability that limits one's abilities and opportunities
  • Witnessing or experiencing traumatic events, such as abuse or violence, that shatter one's worldview and sense of safety

Physical Reactions to Hopelessness

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

  • Slumped posture and lack of energy
  • Heavy sighing or frequent yawning
  • Avoiding eye contact and withdrawing from social situations
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and grooming
  • Slowed speech and monotone voice
  • Difficulty making decisions or taking action
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Lack of interest in hobbies or activities once enjoyed

Thoughts Associated with Hopelessness

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing hopelessness might have:

  • What's the point of trying?
  • I can't see any way out of this situation.
  • Everything I do seems to end up in failure.
  • I feel like giving up.
  • I don't believe things will ever get better.
  • I'm trapped and there's no escape.
  • Why bother? It won't make a difference.
  • I feel like I'm drowning and there's no one to help me.

Atmosphere of Hopelessness

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

  • Use dark and gloomy settings to create a sense of despair and hopelessness.
  • Incorporate bleak weather conditions such as rain or snow to intensify the feeling of hopelessness.
  • Use dim lighting to create a sense of bleakness and despair.
  • Make the characters' actions and dialogue reflect their sense of hopelessness.
  • Use objects or symbols that are associated with sadness or loss to create an atmosphere of despair.
  • Use descriptive language that is bleak and depressing to convey the emotion of hopelessness.
  • Have the characters experience a series of setbacks or failures to intensify the emotion of hopelessness.

Verbs Associated with Hopelessness

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

  • Drown
  • Despair
  • Suffer
  • Crumble
  • Collapse
  • Wither
  • Fade
  • Surrender
  • Wallow
  • Languish
  • Dwindle
  • Diminish
  • Give up
  • Forsake

Emotions Before Hopelessness

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

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Disappointment
  • Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Despair
  • Confusion
  • Helplessness
  • Betrayal
  • Rejection
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Bitterness
  • Regret

Emotions After Hopelessness

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

  • Despair
  • Resignation
  • Defeat
  • Depression
  • Disillusionment
  • Apathy
  • Numbness
  • Helplessness
  • Powerlessness

Telling Hopelessness Examples to Avoid

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

  • She felt completely hopeless.
  • He was overcome by a sense of hopelessness.
  • They looked at each other with eyes full of hopelessness.
  • She slumped down in despair, feeling the weight of hopelessness.
  • He tried to shake off the feeling of hopelessness that had settled over him.
  • The sense of hopelessness was suffocating.
  • They were lost in a sea of hopelessness.
  • She couldn't see a way out of the hopelessness that surrounded her.
  • He felt the hopelessness creeping in, threatening to overwhelm him.

Practical Examples of Showing Hopelessness

Here are some examples of showing hopelessness in a sentence:

  • She stared blankly at the empty page, unable to summon even a single idea.
  • With a heavy sigh, he closed his laptop and leaned back in his chair, defeat etched across his face.
  • She trudged through the rain, feeling the weight of the world pressing down on her shoulders.
  • He looked out the window, watching the storm clouds gather, and wondered if there was any point in even trying.

Exercises for Showing Hopelessness

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing hopelessness:

  • Start by brainstorming situations that could lead to hopelessness, such as the death of a loved one, a major failure, or a chronic illness.
  • Write a scene in which the character is confronted with their hopeless situation. Show their reactions, both physical and emotional. How do they cope? Do they withdraw from others or seek comfort from loved ones?
  • Use sensory details to create a vivid picture of the character's surroundings. Are they in a dark, cramped space? Are they surrounded by a bustling crowd? How does the environment contribute to their sense of hopelessness?
  • Consider the character's thoughts and beliefs. What is their worldview, and how does it contribute to their sense of hopelessness? Are they convinced that their situation is hopeless, or do they hold on to a glimmer of hope?
  • Write a dialogue between the character and someone who offers them hope. How does the character respond? Are they receptive or defensive?
  • Use metaphor and symbolism to convey the character's sense of hopelessness. For example, you could describe a character as feeling like they are drowning in a sea of despair, or you could use the image of a barren wasteland to represent their emotional state.
  • Experiment with different writing styles and techniques to convey the character's sense of hopelessness. For example, you could use short, choppy sentences to create a sense of urgency and desperation, or you could use long, flowing sentences to convey a sense of resignation and defeat.

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

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