Hostility is one of those emotions that just crackles the air. Even someone walking into a room after the fact can feel it. I know I can. When you come face to face with someone who is already pi**ed you know it instantly and well, they ain’t gonna hide it. I mean this is me when I find someone drained the coffee pot and did not have the respect to make a new one.
I do know, at the moment, the pot is full and awaiting our visit. A fresh cuppa and a nibble of vanilla yogurt and apple are on the slate…er…plate. Whatchu gonna have? Wanna share? Please. The Hubs calls my food choices ‘a plate of sad.’ He’s not wrong but I need to take care of me. Grab something good. Get that refill and your copy of Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood and let’s get down to business. I will meet you out on the reading rug with my plate of sad and happy cuppa.
What is the best way to write hostility? Hmmm…according to Ann Hood, the word WAR fits this emotion perfectly. We aren’t talking actual war unless that’s the kind of story you are writing. It could be a war with a partner, child, horrid neighbor, a number of scenarios. It’s that feeling of your hackles raising. Kind of like the hair raising up on a cat’s back. Your shoulders hug your ears. Hands are fisted. Heavy breathing and no matter what anyone says, you can’t calm down. This is hostility, aggression, and war.
This is the case, in your story, where your character sees everyone as the enemy. Descriptions are key.
Rage so hot it could boil lava.
She is so bitter honey couldn’t soften her.
You must be very careful with cliches here. It is far too easy to slip into those, I hate you, moments. Can you use I hate you? Absolutely. It must be in the right place, right time, and limited. Even teenagers are more creative with their text barbs while swimming in anger. You can do it.
- Create a list of physical descriptions of hostility. Start with the face and work your way down to the stance of your character.
- The idea here is to hone your ability to create the emotion on the body.
- Build a list of hostile words. Words that scar, sting, burn. Have the words ‘shoot from tight lips and gritted teeth.’ Cover them in spittle and accusations.
- Carefully create a list of language that best depicts the emotion.
- Write a one-page scene of hostile dialogue. Use one of the topics below to build on.
- A fur coat
- A tattoo
- Lost car keys
- An odd colored house
- A smelly dog
- Bad breath
And when you are done– take a cleansing breath and move away from the emotion. It can hang on and ruin your day if you aren’t careful.
Until next time…
Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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