Claire King


Feeling all emotional

Posted on: December 3rd, 2010 by Claire - 4 Comments

What emotions do you most love to tackle in your writing? What emotions are difficult?”

I thought I’d share this question with you, because I’ve been ruminating on it for a few days. It’s a wonderful question that has been asked of me in an interview (coming in January, more on this soon), and it really got me thinking. What emotions do I lean towards in my writing? My first reaction was – Love, Fear, Anger, Sadness, Joy, Pleasure, Confusion. That doesn’t seem like many emotions for quite a few thousand words of fiction in the last year. Which ones am I missing? I did a quick google for inspiration and here is a selection:

Affection, Amusement, Anger, 
Angst, Anticipation, Apathy, Anxiety, Awe, Contempt, Contentment, Curiosity, Depression, Desire, Despair, Disappointment, Disgust, Ecstasy, Excitement, Empathy, 
Envy, Embarrassment, Euphoria, Fear, Frustration, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt, Happiness, Hatred, Hope, Horror, Hostility, Hysteria, Interest, Jealousy, Joy, Loathing, Longing, Love, Lust, Misery, Optimism, Pity, Pride, Rage, Regret, Relief, Remorse, Sadness, Satisfaction, Scorn, Sensory pleasure, Shame, Shyness, Sorrow, Suffering, Surprise, Wonder, Worry.

That’s a rich seam of character building potential right there. Are there any that take your fancy?

One that stands out for me is Contempt. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink he talks about researcher John Gottman, who, after watching couples interact briefly, can predict with extraordinary accuracy the durability of their marriage. And the killer emotion – contempt.

Gottman has found, in fact, that the presence of contempt in a marriage can even predict such things as how many colds a husband or a wife gets; in other words, having someone you love express contempt toward you is so stressful that it begins to affect the functioning of your immune system.”

Isn’t that an extraordinary discovery?

So, I’ve decided that I’ve been neglecting my emotional side. So in the next few short stories I write I’m going to get to grips with emotions one by one. I think I’ll start with ecstasy. How about you?

4 Responses

  1. What a great list of emotions. My story this week goes from Suffering to Satisfaction and my next story is about Regret.

  2. Pete Domican says:

    Contempt corrodes the spirit, like nothing else.

  3. Marcus Speh says:

    great list, enjoyed this. you got me thinking. last night, a drunken sailor asked me what my “voice” was and i didn’t have an answer for him. now you’re asking about my emotion and again, i don’t have an answer. that makes me angry. there!

  4. Deborah Rickard says:

    An interesting and thought provoking post. I’m having thoughts about the huge range of emotions you mention and the relationship between emotion and rationality. We’re such a mixture of both and it’s giving me ideas …


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