The Loneliness of Distrust

Ever been lied to? Cheated on? Stolen from?

Did you ever fully trust that person ever again?

That my friends, is suspicion. That shadow of doubt that lingers on long after the incident. George Eliot once asked, “What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?” Suspicion is distrust in its truest form, but lacking evidence or proof. You can create a character who is suspicious of another for no provable reason. That would become your story, proving they are right or wrong. Now, if that other person had done them, or someone they love wrong, distrust is easy and in the forefront of the storyline.

Do you trust me? I know you do…right? Hmmm. Anyway, let’s fill our cuppas and grab some nibbles and get down to it. Don’t forget to wash your hands before you go rooting around in other people stuff. In fact, wash your hands after, too. You can’t trust that things are clean these days. Covid sucks and so do the shots. Eeeek! Snag that copy of Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood and meet us out on the reading rug.

Suspicion and paranoia are two different things but if you aren’t careful in how you write them, they can cross paths. If you create a character who is suspicious of another with no viable reason, you can dip into paranoia quickly. Remember, your reader must feel the same as you create the story. If they can’t follow your characters train of thought or feelings about another character you can lose them.

To write distrust and suspicion in a believable way you must reveal some of the source of the character’s feelings. Maybe they saw the other character holding the hand of a girl who was not their girlfriend. Or lurking around outside a building that was robbed later that evening. Build reasonable doubt.

If you lay it out in the beginning that someone cheated, lied, or stole then it’s easier to follow through on the suspicion and doubt. Then it can be a story of building back someone’s trust or confirm they aren’t worth it. Either way, make it real. Don’t throw your character under the proverbial bus too soon. Your reader’s interest will go right along with it. Why keep reading when you already know what’s gonna happen a third of the way through. Boring.

Even if there isn’t any in-your-face proof of distrust, don’t rule out the feeling a character may have. We have all had that weird twitch at the back of our neck’s when we met someone slightly off center. I’m sure people have felt that way about me. LOL I’m cool with that. I’m an acquired taste. Not for everyone.  Anyway, create that twitch or head tilt when a character assesses that person they just met. The watchful eye they keep to determine the reason for their distrust.

When writing from a child’s perspective, their reasoning can be crazy and outlandish. Their teacher is an alien, or their neighbor is hiding a dead body in the salt can he uses to clear the sidewalks when it snows. (Home Alone) You have the freedom to go overboard when in a child’s mind.  Not so much with adults…right?


  1. Create a child’s crazy distrust for their third-grade teacher: they are an alien, or bank robber, or, even better, an alien bank robber. Have fun with their reasoning.
  2. Create a scene where your character has already proven they are a cheater, liar, or thief. Write how they try to rebuild the trust they have broken.
  3. Your MC has just met the significant other of their best friend. They instantly don’t like them. Why? Show us what they are feeling and why.

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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