Skip to main content

Writing Emotions - Understanding Fear and Frustration

Anyone who has read my fiction knows that I love to weave emotions into my words, to make the reader feel as they go through the story. Some of this comes from my desire to put you in the mindset of the characters. Some of this from my desire to be as authentic in the writing as possible. And a lot of it likely comes from my professional training as a school psychologist who specializes in understanding behavior and emotions.

Weaving emotions into your stories starts with a basic understanding of why we, as humans, act as we do - what motivates our behaviors and actions, especially our maladaptive ones.

Most people engage in various problem behaviors for one of two reasons - as a reaction to feeling out of control or threatened (referred to as responding behaviors), or to gain control over a situation (referred to as operating behaviors). This post focuses on understanding responding behaviors.

Fear and frustration are significant motivators to many negative behaviors. These responding behaviors have but one goal - Reduce the threat the person is feeling.

There are several ways to tell if a person is reacting to their environment due to fear or frustration, auditory and visual signals that tell us what is motivating the behavior.

With fear, a person's voice becomes whiny and breathy. Sometimes a person is rendered unable to speak at all, and his or her breathing becomes irregular. A person functioning from a basis of fear will often appear ashen, with a wide-eyed stare that is either fixed or darting, looking for an escape. His or her body will be tense and on the defensive.

Frustration looks somewhat different from fear. In this case, a person's voice is often loud and he or she may speak through clenched teeth. The person may appear tense and ready for a fight. His or her skin may be dark and red as his or her circulation increases. He or she may clench his/her jaw and have an overly focused glare.

Knowing how fear and frustration look and sound can help a writer realistically portray, and elicit, both
the behaviors and the emotions.

I hope this has helped you understand a little bit about responding behaviors. Next time I will focus on manipulation and intimidation -  maladaptive operating behaviors.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Collide and Transcend in Audio Format

Wow - it has too long since my last post! A lot has happened over the past few months. First, I've decided to re-launch my entire backlist. What does this mean? New covers, new interiors, and, in some cases, new and expanded stories. It also means releasing the books in audiobook format. Audiobooks are something I've wanted to do for a while. And now it is finally happening.

In December, I released the audiobook formats of Transcend and Collide - each with new covers and new interiors in the digital and print versions. I plan on revealing the new covers for the rest of the Solomon Experiment series (the sequels to Collide) later this month, with the actual books coming in late Feb and March/April.

In Spring, I will begin the re-launch of the Requiem series, including significantly expanded stories for books 2 and 3, new covers, new titles and audiobook formats.

I don't plan on only re-releasing books in 2016. In addition to the two new books in the Solomon Experiments, I ha…

Crossroads Tour Day #5

Welcome to Day #5 of the Crossroads Tour. I hope you are having as much fun as I am! Not sure what this is? Read the post on day #1.Did you remember to enter the giveaway for the Amazon gift card? CLICK HERE to enter.

As I mentioned, I am giving away one ebook of COLLIDE during the tour. Just stop by each day, Monday through Saturday, and answer the daily question. I will randomly draw a name every evening. Easy, right?!?

For today's entry, check out my Q&A at LITTLE LIBRARY MUSE and answer this question:

Who am I trapped in an elevator with?

Leave your answers in the comments. I will draw a random winner at 10pm PST on Saturday. Good luck!

Day #4 of the Crossroads Tour

Welcome to Day #4 of the Crossroads Tour. I hope you are having as much fun as I am! Not sure what this is? Read the first post.Did you remember to enter the giveaway for the Amazon gift card? CLICK HERE to enter.

As I mentioned, I am giving away one ebook of COLLIDE during the tour. Just stop by each day, Monday through Saturday, and answer the daily question. I will randomly draw a name every evening. Easy, right?!?

For today's entry, check out my Q&A at JESSICA BAYLISS and answer this question:

What horror movie scared the heck out of me?
Leave your answers in the comments. I will draw a random winner at 10pm PST on Saturday. Good luck!