Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Sentimentality

Emotion Sentimentality

When you want to write the emotion sentimentality, 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.

Sentimentality is an excessive expression of tender emotions, especially in an artificial or contrived way. It involves an exaggerated and often maudlin display of emotions such as nostalgia, love, or pity, which may not be genuine or authentic. Sentimentality often appeals to the emotions of the audience rather than to reason, and it can sometimes be used to manipulate or exploit people's feelings. While some degree of sentimentality can be appropriate in certain contexts, it is important to avoid overdoing it and to strive for authenticity and emotional depth in writing.

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

Different Types of Sentimentality

Here are some different types of sentimentality:

  • Nostalgia: A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
  • Melancholy: A feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.
  • Sappiness: An overly sentimental or mawkish display of emotion.
  • Emotionalism: An excessive display of emotion or emotional reactions.
  • Romanticism: A tendency to see things in a positive light, or to exaggerate the emotional intensity of a situation.

Situations Associated with Sentimentality

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

  • A sentimental character may experience strong emotions triggered by significant events or milestones in their life, such as a wedding anniversary or the birth of a child.
  • They may be deeply attached to sentimental objects or mementos that hold personal or nostalgic value, such as a childhood toy or a family heirloom.
  • They may have experienced a significant loss or separation, which triggers sentimental feelings towards memories or past experiences with the person or thing they lost.
  • A sentimental character may also be prone to nostalgia, longing for a time or place in the past that holds personal significance to them.
  • They may be highly empathetic and emotional, easily moved to tears by touching moments, gestures, or acts of kindness.

Physical Reactions to Sentimentality

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

  • Tears or crying
  • Nostalgia or longing for the past
  • Clinging to objects or keepsakes
  • Overly sentimental or emotional responses to situations
  • Romanticizing the past or idealizing people or situations
  • Difficulty letting go of sentimental items or memories
  • Emotional outbursts or mood swings
  • A desire for comfort and familiarity
  • A tendency to hold onto relationships or connections that may no longer be healthy

Thoughts Associated with Sentimentality

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing sentimentality might have:

  • Remembering past memories and feeling sentimental about them
  • Feeling a sense of nostalgia and longing for the past
  • Seeing beauty in small and simple things
  • Feeling overwhelmed with emotions and becoming teary-eyed easily
  • Desiring to hold onto sentimental items or keepsakes
  • Wanting to connect with others emotionally
  • Feeling a sense of empathy and compassion towards others
  • Struggling to let go of sentimental attachments or relationships

Atmosphere of Sentimentality

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

  • Choose a location that holds personal significance to the character, such as a childhood home, a favorite park, or a special restaurant.
  • Use warm and cozy details to create a nostalgic atmosphere, such as soft lighting, comfortable furniture, and familiar smells.
  • Include sentimental objects that hold emotional value to the character, such as a family heirloom, a photo album, or a treasured gift.
  • Use a soft and dreamy tone in the descriptions and dialogue to create a sense of wistfulness and longing.
  • Incorporate sensory details that evoke strong emotions, such as the sound of a favorite song, the taste of a childhood treat, or the feel of a cherished blanket.
  • Use flashbacks or memories to reinforce the character's emotional connection to the setting or objects.

Verbs Associated with Sentimentality

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

  • Cherish
  • Yearn
  • Adore
  • Treasure
  • Nostalgize
  • Idealize
  • Romanticize
  • Reverence
  • Idolize
  • Embrace
  • Long
  • Pine
  • Mourn
  • Relish

Emotions Before Sentimentality

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

  • Love
  • Nostalgia
  • Melancholy
  • Affection
  • Fondness
  • Longing
  • Regret

Emotions After Sentimentality

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

  • Nostalgia
  • Melancholy
  • Longing
  • Regret
  • Sorrow
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Tenderness
  • Sympathy

Telling Sentimentality Examples to Avoid

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

  • The old watch reminded her of her grandfather, and she felt sentimental.
  • She felt sentimental when she looked at the photo album.
  • His voice was full of sentimentality as he talked about his childhood memories.
  • She felt sentimental as she read her old love letters.
  • The sentimental music made her feel emotional.
  • He couldn't help but feel sentimental when he visited his childhood home.
  • The sentimental gifts from her friends made her feel loved.
  • She felt sentimental as she watched the old home videos.
  • The sentimental value of the family heirloom was priceless.

Practical Examples of Showing Sentimentality

Here are some examples of showing sentimentality in a sentence:

  • She clutched the faded photograph of her grandparents, tears streaming down her face.
  • He couldn't bring himself to throw away the old teddy bear from his childhood, despite its worn-out appearance.
  • The protagonist smiled at the sight of her childhood home, memories flooding back in a wave of nostalgia.
  • She hugged her best friend tightly, overcome with emotion at the thought of their impending separation.

Exercises for Showing Sentimentality

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing sentimentality:

  • Write a scene where the character discovers an old letter or photograph that brings back memories of a loved one who has passed away.
  • Have the character visit a place that holds sentimental value, like a childhood home or a favorite vacation spot.
  • Write a scene where the character is reunited with a long-lost friend or family member and they reminisce about old times.
  • Have the character become emotionally attached to an object that reminds them of someone special, like a piece of jewelry or a favorite book.
  • Write a scene where the character attends a wedding or funeral and becomes overwhelmed with emotion.
  • Have the character write a letter or journal entry expressing their feelings about a significant event or person in their life.

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

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