Inspiration Decks Emotions 5 min2024-03-14 12:00

Emotions Thesaurus for Writers

Emotion Thesaurus

Why are emotions important in writing?

Writing about emotion is crucial for you to create compelling, character-driven stories that deeply resonate with readers. Authentic expressions of feelings allow for psychological realism, complexity, and empathy. Emotional arcs captivate readers while emotional connections forge engagement.

The key reasons why emotions are important for your writing are:

  • Allows for psychological realism - Emotions are a core part of the human experience, so conveying them authentically makes characters and stories resonate as true to life.

  • Engages readers - When readers connect with characters emotionally, they become invested in the story and care about the outcomes.

  • Creates complexity - Emotions, especially conflicting ones, allow for nuanced portrayals of characters, relationships, and situations beyond black and white. This adds depth.

  • Evokes empathy - Writing about emotions enables readers to step into characters' shoes, understand different perspectives, and develop empathy.

Here we provide you with lists of positive, negative, and more mixed and complex emotions that you can use in your writing.

Positive Emotions

You can utilize positive emotions like joy, excitement, love, hope, pride, and wonder to connect with readers on a deeper level and craft uplifting, engaging stories. By evoking these feelings through thoughtful word choice you can endear your characters to readers and captivate their imagination.

Positive Emotions List
Here is a list of common positive emotions:

Negative Emotions

You can bring more emotional depth and complexity to your stories by carefully integrating negative emotions. Feelings of sadness, anger, fear, and guilt can raise the stakes, fuel conflict, and spotlight inner turmoil. Used in balance, negative emotions in writing add poignancy, stakes, and realism.

Negative Emotions List
Here is a list of common negative emotions:

Neutral/Mixed Emotions

You can create intriguing complexity and realism by integrating neutral and mixed emotions into your stories. Feelings of surprise, awe, confusion, restlessness and melancholy add nuance and uncertainty during pivotal moments. Contrasting emotions reflect the complicated nature of the human experience.

Neutral Emotions List
Here is a list of common mixed and more complex emotions:


The full palette of human emotion provides endless possibility for impactful writing. Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, and more—each feeling evokes a different experience within us all. By tapping into universal emotions, you can intricately craft characters that seem true-to-life. You can build engaging arcs, escalating stakes, and compelling themes. You can forge profound connections between reader and story. Using emotions like joy, grief, lust, courage, confusion, and despair with honesty and care allows you to produce works that speak to the human condition.

With thoughtful use of emotion, you can ensure your characters will live on in our hearts.