Get 25% OFF new yearly plans in our Spring Sale

Buy now
Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Perplexity

Emotion Perplexity

When you want to write the emotion perplexity, 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.

Perplexity is a state of confusion or bewilderment that arises when a person encounters something that they cannot understand or explain. It is a feeling of uncertainty or doubt that can be caused by a variety of factors such as complexity, ambiguity, or conflicting information. In literature, perplexity is often used to create tension and intrigue in a story, as characters struggle to make sense of their circumstances or unravel a mystery. Writing characters that experience perplexity can add depth and complexity to your story, and make it more engaging for your readers.

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

Different Types of Perplexity

Here are some different types of perplexity:

  • Confusion
  • Uncertainty
  • Bewilderment
  • Disorientation
  • Ambiguity
  • Puzzlement
  • Dilemma
  • Indecision
  • Hesitation

Situations Associated with Perplexity

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

  • A character may experience perplexity when they are faced with an unexpected situation or event that they do not know how to handle.
  • When a character is presented with conflicting information or evidence that makes it difficult for them to make a decision, they may feel perplexed.
  • Perplexity may arise when a character is unsure about their own beliefs, values, or identity, and they are struggling to make sense of their thoughts and feelings.
  • When a character is faced with a moral dilemma or an ethical decision that challenges their values, they may feel perplexed about what the right course of action is.

Physical Reactions to Perplexity

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

  • Furrowed brow or wrinkled forehead
  • Puzzled expression or frown
  • Tilted head or raised eyebrows
  • Confused or hesitant speech patterns
  • Pausing frequently or searching for words
  • Pacing or restless movements
  • Scratching the head or rubbing the chin
  • Squinting or narrowing the eyes
  • Staring off into space or appearing lost
  • Tapping fingers or fidgeting with objects
  • Asking questions or seeking clarification
  • Repeating phrases or statements for clarification

Thoughts Associated with Perplexity

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing perplexity might have:

  • What's going on?
  • I don't understand.
  • How did this happen?
  • Am I missing something?
  • Why can't I figure this out?
  • This doesn't make any sense.
  • I need more information.
  • I feel lost.
  • What should I do?

Atmosphere of Perplexity

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

  • Incorporate conflicting elements into the setting or atmosphere, such as mismatched colors or clashing styles
  • Use disorienting or confusing elements, such as mirrors, mazes, or distorted perspectives
  • Create an atmosphere of uncertainty or ambiguity, with incomplete information or conflicting clues
  • Use non-linear storytelling, jumping between different perspectives or time periods
  • Play with the senses, using unusual smells, sounds, or textures to create a sense of confusion or disorientation
  • Incorporate elements of chaos or disorder, such as cluttered spaces or unpredictable weather

Verbs Associated with Perplexity

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

  • Confound
  • Puzzle
  • Baffle
  • Mystify
  • Perplex
  • Flummox
  • Nonplus
  • Bewilder
  • Confuse
  • Disorient
  • Vex
  • Faze
  • Stump
  • Puzzle out

Emotions Before Perplexity

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

  • Confusion
  • Uncertainty
  • Doubt
  • Disorientation
  • Bewilderment
  • Curiosity
  • Suspicion
  • Apprehension
  • Anticipation

Emotions After Perplexity

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

  • Frustration
  • Confusion
  • Curiosity
  • Anxiety
  • Doubt
  • Insecurity
  • Indecision
  • Overwhelm
  • Irritation
  • Disappointment
  • Resentment
  • Anguish
  • Despair
  • Hopelessness

Telling Perplexity Examples to Avoid

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

  • He was perplexed by the sudden turn of events.
  • She felt a sense of perplexity wash over her.
  • They were left in a state of perplexity after the confusing explanation.
  • His face twisted in perplexity as he tried to understand.

Practical Examples of Showing Perplexity

Here are some examples of showing perplexity in a sentence:

  • She furrowed her brows and squinted at the map, trying to make sense of the jumbled lines and symbols.
  • He cocked his head to one side and frowned, unsure of how to respond to the unexpected question.
  • She stared at the blank page for what felt like hours, unable to figure out how to start the next chapter.
  • He tapped his pencil against his chin and sighed, struggling to reconcile the conflicting information in the research.

Exercises for Showing Perplexity

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing perplexity:

  • Think of a situation that would cause your character to feel perplexed. Write a scene where they experience this emotion and describe their thoughts and reactions.
  • Write a monologue from your character's perspective, exploring their confusion and uncertainty about a particular issue.
  • Create a list of words and phrases that are associated with perplexity, such as "puzzled," "confounded," "bewildered," and "uncertain." Use these words in your character's dialogue and internal thoughts to convey their emotional state.
  • Use sensory details to convey your character's state of mind. For example, describe the way their heart races or their palms sweat when they are feeling perplexed.
  • Write a scene where your character is trying to solve a problem or puzzle, but they are struggling to make sense of it. Show how they approach the problem and how their confusion affects their ability to find a solution.
  • Consider how your character's past experiences and personality traits might influence their response to perplexity. For example, a character who is used to being in control may become frustrated and angry when faced with a confusing situation.

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

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.