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Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Mortification

Emotion Mortification

When you want to write the emotion mortification, 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.

Mortification is a feeling of extreme embarrassment, shame, or humiliation caused by a personal failure or mistake. It is a powerful emotion that can be both painful and overwhelming, often leading to self-doubt, self-criticism, and social withdrawal. Mortification can be triggered by a wide range of situations, such as public speaking, social rejection, or personal disappointment, and it can have a profound impact on a person's self-esteem and mental well-being. Understanding and portraying mortification in your characters can add depth and complexity to their personalities, making them more relatable and compelling to readers.

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

Different Types of Mortification

Here are some different types of mortification:

  • Public embarrassment or shame
  • Regret over a past action or decision
  • Feeling humiliated by a mistake or failure
  • Disappointment in oneself or one's actions
  • Feeling exposed or vulnerable in a negative way
  • Being ridiculed or laughed at by others

Situations Associated with Mortification

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

  • Public humiliation or embarrassment
  • Being caught in a lie or deception
  • Failing publicly or in front of someone they admire
  • Realizing they have hurt someone they care about
  • Making a mistake that has serious consequences
  • Being exposed for something they were trying to keep hidden
  • Feeling ashamed of their actions or behavior
  • Being rejected or abandoned by someone they love or respect
  • Being criticized or judged harshly by others

Physical Reactions to Mortification

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

  • Blushing or flushing of the face
  • Avoiding eye contact or looking down
  • Fidgeting or restless movements (e.g. tapping feet, wringing hands)
  • Stuttering or stumbling over words
  • Apologizing excessively or feeling the need to explain oneself
  • Withdrawing from social situations or isolating oneself
  • Feeling a sense of shame or embarrassment
  • Criticizing oneself or engaging in negative self-talk
  • Experiencing physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, or nausea

It's important to note that everyone experiences emotions differently, and not all of these signs and behaviors may be present for everyone. However, these are common ways in which mortification can manifest. As a writer, incorporating these physical and behavioral cues can help bring your characters' emotions to life and make them more relatable to readers.

Thoughts Associated with Mortification

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing mortification might have:

• I'll never live this down.

Atmosphere of Mortification

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

  • Choose a setting that feels exposed or vulnerable, such as a public place or a room with large windows.
  • Use descriptors that evoke embarrassment or shame, such as "flushed," "red-faced," or "looking down at their feet."
  • Create an atmosphere of tension or discomfort, perhaps through awkward silences or characters avoiding eye contact.
  • Use dialogue that highlights the character's embarrassment, such as stammering or avoiding certain topics.

Verbs Associated with Mortification

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

  • Stammered
  • Flinched
  • Cringed
  • Shrunk
  • Trembled
  • Quivered
  • Wilted
  • Faltered
  • Recoiled
  • Blushed
  • Winced
  • Quailed
  • Cowered
  • Groveled

Emotions Before Mortification

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

  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Regret
  • Humiliation
  • Disappointment
  • Frustration
  • Self-doubt
  • Anxiety

Emotions After Mortification

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

  • Shame
  • Humiliation
  • Embarrassment
  • Regret
  • Self-consciousness
  • Guilt
  • Insecurity
  • Disappointment
  • Anguish

Telling Mortification Examples to Avoid

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

  • She felt embarrassed.
  • He was ashamed of himself.
  • She blushed deeply.
  • He cringed at his mistake.
  • She wished she could disappear.
  • He felt like a fool.
  • She wanted to crawl into a hole.
  • He wished the ground would swallow him up.

Practical Examples of Showing Mortification

Here are some examples of showing mortification in a sentence:

  • Jane's cheeks flushed bright red as she realized she had been wearing her shirt inside out all day.
  • Tom buried his face in his hands, unable to look his boss in the eye after making a costly mistake on the project.
  • Sarah let out an audible gasp when she stumbled and spilled her coffee all over her white dress in the middle of a crowded café.
  • John's heart sank as he watched his team lose the championship game due to his own error in judgement.

Exercises for Showing Mortification

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing mortification:

  • Think of a time when you felt deeply embarrassed or ashamed. Write down the details of the situation, including what led up to it, what happened, and how you felt. Use this as inspiration for your character's mortification.
  • Write a scene in which your character realizes they have made a huge mistake in front of a large group of people. Show how they feel as they process the embarrassment and humiliation.
  • Consider the physical sensations that accompany mortification, such as sweating, blushing, or feeling a lump in one's throat. Use these details to describe your character's experience.
  • Write a monologue from your character's perspective as they reflect on a past embarrassing moment. What do they wish they had done differently, and how has it affected them since?
  • Use dialogue to show how your character's mortification affects their relationships with others. Do they become defensive, apologetic, or avoidant?
  • Write a scene in which your character must face the person or people who witnessed their embarrassing moment. How do they handle the encounter, and what emotions do they experience?

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

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