Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Yearning

Emotion Yearning

When you want to write the emotion yearning, 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.

Yearning is an intense feeling of longing or a strong desire for something or someone that is absent or unattainable. It is a deep emotional state that often involves a sense of nostalgia, a longing for something that is lost or for a connection to a past experience. It can be a powerful driving force for a character, shaping their actions and decisions as they strive to fulfill their desires. As a writer, tapping into the emotion of yearning can create a rich and complex character that resonates with readers.

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

Different Types of Yearning

Here are some different types of yearning:

  • Romantic yearning: longing for a romantic partner or a past love
  • Career yearning: a strong desire to achieve success in a specific career or profession
  • Familial yearning: a deep longing to connect with family members or a desire to start a family
  • Spiritual yearning: a yearning for spiritual fulfillment or a connection with a higher power
  • Creative yearning: a strong desire to create or express oneself through art, music, or writing
  • Adventure yearning: a craving for adventure, exploration, and new experiences
  • Nostalgic yearning: a longing for past experiences, places, or people
  • Material yearning: a desire for material possessions or wealth

Situations Associated with Yearning

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

  • Longing for something or someone that is out of reach or unattainable
  • A sense of unfulfillment or incompleteness in one's life
  • Nostalgia for a past experience or relationship
  • A desire for a life that is different from the one currently being lived
  • A longing for connection or intimacy with another person
  • Regret over missed opportunities or choices not taken
  • A yearning for a sense of purpose or direction in life
  • A desire to be understood or appreciated by others
  • A longing for a sense of belonging or community

Physical Reactions to Yearning

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

  • A longing gaze or wistful expression
  • Fidgeting, restlessness, or pacing
  • A deep sigh or heavy breathing
  • Clenched fists or wringing of the hands
  • A tendency to daydream or lose focus
  • Repetitive actions or habits, such as biting nails or playing with hair
  • An inability to sit still or stay in one place for long
  • A heightened sensitivity to sensory experiences, such as smells, sounds, or touch

Thoughts Associated with Yearning

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing yearning might have:

  • If only I could have what I desire.
  • I can't stop thinking about it.
  • I feel incomplete without it.
  • I want it so badly, it hurts.
  • I can't focus on anything else.
  • I feel like something is missing in my life.
  • I daydream about it all the time.
  • I wish I could turn back time to get what I want.
  • I feel a deep ache in my chest when I think about it.

Atmosphere of Yearning

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

  • Begin by setting the scene in a place that evokes a sense of longing or unfulfilled desire. This could be a deserted beach at sunset, a quiet park bench with the sound of distant traffic, or a dimly lit room with a single candle flickering.
  • Use sensory details to create an atmosphere of yearning. Describe the smell of the salty sea air, the sound of waves crashing on the shore, the feel of the cool breeze on the skin, or the taste of tears on the lips.
  • Use symbolism to enhance the emotion of yearning. For example, use a broken piece of jewelry or a faded photograph to represent lost love, or a locked door to represent a desire that is out of reach.
  • Use contrast to highlight the character's yearning. For example, if the character is surrounded by happy couples, this will accentuate their sense of loneliness and longing.
  • Use the weather to mirror the character's emotions. A stormy sky or a bleak, overcast day can emphasize a sense of sadness or longing, while a bright, sunny day can create a feeling of hope and optimism.

Verbs Associated with Yearning

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

  • Long
  • Crave
  • Desire
  • Yearn
  • Hunger
  • Want
  • Covet
  • Pine
  • Ache
  • Burn
  • Thirst
  • Seek
  • Strive
  • Reach

Emotions Before Yearning

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

  • Curiosity
  • Anticipation
  • Longing
  • Hopefulness
  • Restlessness
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Disillusionment
  • Frustration
  • Disappointment

Emotions After Yearning

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

  • Disappointment
  • Frustration
  • Sorrow
  • Regret
  • Longing
  • Hopelessness
  • Despair
  • Resignation
  • Acceptance
  • Relief

It's important to remember that emotions are complex and can have different variations and intensities depending on the character and their situation.

Telling Yearning Examples to Avoid

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

  • He felt a deep yearning in his heart for the life he once had.
  • She couldn't shake the yearning she felt for her lost love.
  • The protagonist was consumed with yearning for a better future.
  • The character's yearning for adventure drove him to make a reckless decision.
  • Her yearning for success was palpable in every conversation she had.
  • The yearning in his eyes betrayed his true feelings.
  • The heroine tried to hide her yearning for companionship, but it was written all over her face.
  • He could hear the yearning in her voice as she spoke about her dreams.
  • The character's yearning for justice fueled his every action.

Practical Examples of Showing Yearning

Here are some examples of showing yearning in a sentence:

  • She gazed out the window, longing for the days when life was simpler.
  • His eyes lingered on her as she walked away, wishing he had the courage to speak to her.
  • The smell of freshly baked bread filled the air, reminding her of her grandmother's kitchen and the love she felt there.
  • She clutched the old photograph to her chest, desperate to feel the warmth of her mother's embrace again.

Exercises for Showing Yearning

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing yearning:

  • Start by asking yourself what your character desires most in life. What are their deepest longings, hopes, and dreams? Make a list of these desires.
  • Think about what your character is willing to do to achieve their desires. Will they make sacrifices, take risks, or go to great lengths to pursue what they want?
  • Consider the obstacles that stand in your character's way. What challenges must they overcome to achieve their desires? How do these obstacles make your character yearn even more for what they want?
  • Write a scene where your character is faced with a situation that triggers their yearning. Show how they react to this situation and how their yearning intensifies.
  • Use sensory details to describe how your character experiences their yearning. Does it feel like a physical ache in their chest? Does it cause their heart to race or their palms to sweat?
  • Show how your character's yearning affects their relationships with others. Do they become more desperate or manipulative in their interactions with others? Do they isolate themselves or become more dependent on those around them?

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

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