Thank you, dictionary.com
- Do you know about dictionary.com? It and thesaurus.com are amazing tools for us writer folk. Keep these lil sites handy.
- the act of irritating or the state of being irritated.
- something that irritates.
- the bringing of a bodily part or organ to an abnormally excited or sensitive condition.
- the condition itself.
First, understand that irritations are small annoyances. These are not the kind of things that will drive a person to violence. Er, well, they shouldn’t drive them to commit such things but, ya know, people. We are currently in a country full of Karens and Chads. Doesn’t take much to send them off.
Me? What sets me off? Hmmm…let me think.
- No coffee.
- Cold food when I ordered a hot meal.
- Restaurants offering ‘Endless’ French fries that are never refilled. (The Hubs)
- People talking over me.
- Talking down to people.
- Whiners. Nuff said.
- People who waste my time. Be on time.
- Misinformation – lying
- Did I mention- no coffee?
These things can rub me the wrong way but not so much that I would hurt anyone.
Maybe the lack of coffee could. Just sayin’. Well, to be safe, let’s go fill those dry cuppas and grab a nibble. I made the shortbread cookies I posted the other day. They turned out wonderful. I used dried cranberries and candied nuts. Total yummers! I have a few left if you wanna try one. Grab what you want and your copy of Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood. We are on page 96. Don’t bug me. Have a seat and don’t make a mess.
Writing irritation is like crumbs on the reading rug. The empty roll of toilet tissue. Someone leaving their clothes in the dryer when you need it. These are the moments when your character would growl and mumble under their breath about how worthless this person is as they throw the clothes into a laundry basket. Your character isn’t gonna punch them in the face.
The goal writing this is to get under your reader’s skin. This means it must be something everyone can relate to. The missing remote. Someone eating your food out of the breakroom fridge. We wouldn’t know anything about this, would we. Um, nope. It’s the fly buzzing over head when you are trying to eat your hot dog.
As you can see, it can be small things that drive a person nutz. I’ve noticed that sometimes, these things may not bother a person. It could be they were already a bit ticked about something else and this lil annoyance caused them to burst, or a list of these small irritations built up and overwhelmed them.
Let’s think about the physical signs of irritation. You have:
- foot tapping
- hands on the hips
- eye rolling
- crossing arms over the body
- making guttural sounds like argh
- turning their back to the thing that is bothering them
- complaining about the problem
- Pick a topic, like, finding the dryer full of clothes when you need it, write a page of dialogue your characters would have about finishing things you start. Show real emotion.
- Choose one of the character types below and use it to create and explain irritation:
- A recovering alcoholic talks about his/her disgruntled wife/husband.
- A pregnant woman talking about the unwilling father.
- A sick man talking about his healthy wife.
- A young woman talking about her new boyfriend who is allergic to her cat.
- Write a one-page character sketch of the most annoying person you can imagine. Now, take that character and place them in a stuck elevator with you. Do not tell your reader how you feel – show us your irritation. How you are literally biting your tongue.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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