Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Hostility

Emotion Hostility

When you want to write the emotion hostility, 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 instead of telling and immerse your readers in your story.

Hostility is an emotional state characterized by feelings of anger, resentment, animosity, and aggression towards someone or something. It is the opposite of friendliness and often involves a desire to harm, hurt, or insult the target of the hostility. Hostility can manifest itself in various ways, including verbal attacks, physical violence, social exclusion, and passive-aggressive behavior. It is a powerful emotion that can have negative effects on relationships, communication, and personal well-being if not managed effectively.

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

Different Types of Hostility

Here are some different types of hostility:

  • Anger
  • Hatred
  • Resentment
  • Contempt
  • Animosity
  • Bitterness
  • Enmity
  • Disdain
  • Dislike

Situations Associated with Hostility

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

  • Feeling disrespected or insulted by someone
  • Being threatened or physically harmed by someone
  • Being mistreated or discriminated against by a group or individual
  • Frustration with a situation or circumstance that is out of their control
  • Feeling betrayed or deceived by someone they trusted
  • Jealousy or envy towards someone else's success or possessions
  • Past experiences of being hurt or mistreated by others
  • Feeling overwhelmed or stressed by a situation

Physical Reactions to Hostility

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

  • Clenched fists or jaw
  • Narrowed or squinted eyes
  • Frowning or scowling
  • Tightened facial muscles
  • Raised eyebrows
  • Defensive body language (crossed arms, standing tall)
  • Aggressive posturing (leaning forward, invading personal space)
  • Raised voice or speaking through gritted teeth
  • Swearing or using harsh language
  • Pounding or slamming objects
  • Intentionally ignoring or interrupting others

Thoughts Associated with Hostility

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing hostility might have:

  • Who does this person think they are?
  • I can't stand being around them.
  • They don't deserve my respect.
  • I want to argue with them just for the sake of arguing.
  • I don't care what they have to say.
  • They are a waste of my time.
  • I hope they fail at whatever they're doing.
  • I'm always looking for ways to prove them wrong.
  • They bring out the worst in me.

Atmosphere of Hostility

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

  • Create a tense atmosphere by using short, choppy sentences and vivid descriptions of characters' body language, such as clenched fists and narrowed eyes.
  • Set the scene in a place that has a history of violence or aggression, such as a dark alley or a rundown bar.
  • Use weather and lighting to reflect the characters' emotions. For example, a stormy night or dimly lit room can create a sense of unease and hostility.
  • Incorporate sounds that add to the tension, such as a ticking clock or the sound of footsteps approaching.
  • Describe the physical environment in a way that emphasizes danger or threat. For example, broken glass on the ground or a knife lying on a table can create a sense of imminent violence.
  • Use dialogue that is confrontational and aggressive, with characters interrupting each other and speaking in short, sharp bursts.

Verbs Associated with Hostility

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

  • Accuse
  • Condemn
  • Criticize
  • Disapprove
  • Dominate
  • Exclude
  • Insult
  • Intimidate
  • Offend
  • Oppress
  • Reject
  • Repress
  • Resent
  • Sabotage

Emotions Before Hostility

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

  • Frustration
  • Irritation
  • Disappointment
  • Resentment
  • Anger
  • Betrayal
  • Jealousy
  • Envy
  • Fear
  • Insecurity
  • Defensiveness
  • Disgust
  • Contempt

It's important to note that these emotions may not always lead to hostility, but they can be contributing factors. Understanding the root of a character's hostility can help you create a more complex and nuanced portrayal.

Emotions After Hostility

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

  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Frustration
  • Bitterness
  • Defensiveness
  • Betrayal
  • Hurt
  • Sadness
  • Despair
  • Regret
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

It's worth noting that everyone experiences emotions differently and may have different reactions to hostility. Use this list as a starting point and feel free to explore and expand on these emotions in your writing.

Telling Hostility Examples to Avoid

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

  • John felt angry and aggressive towards his coworkers.
  • Mary was filled with animosity towards her ex-husband.
  • The protagonist glared at his rival with a burning enmity.
  • The teacher had a deep-seated dislike for the disruptive student.
  • The character's words were laced with scorn and contempt for his opponent.
  • The antagonist's tone was laced with venom and malice towards the hero.
  • The heroine felt a simmering hatred towards the villain.
  • The detective's voice was filled with suspicion and distrust towards the suspect.

Practical Examples of Showing Hostility

Here are some examples of showing hostility in a sentence:

  • Her jaw clenched as she watched him walk away, seething with anger.
  • She resisted the urge to lash out, her fists tightening at her sides.
  • The venom in her words was palpable as she criticized his every move.
  • His eyes narrowed and his lip curled in a sneer as he looked down at her.

Exercises for Showing Hostility

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing hostility:

  • Write a scene where your character is in a heated argument with someone they dislike.
  • Create a monologue where your character expresses their anger and frustration towards a situation or person.
  • Write a scene where your character is actively seeking revenge against someone who has wronged them.
  • Describe a physical altercation between your character and someone they have a grudge against.
  • Write a dialogue where your character is defensive and confrontational towards someone they feel threatened by.
  • Create a backstory for your character that explains why they harbor hostility towards a particular group or person.
  • Write a scene where your character is seething with jealousy and envy towards someone they perceive as a rival.
  • Describe a scenario where your character's hostility towards someone they dislike leads to them sabotaging their plans or reputation.
  • Write a scene where your character is forced to work with someone they despise, and their hostility towards them creates tension and conflict.

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

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