Back in September, I published Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings. As promised, I will be posting the book on my blog. So, here is the next installment, listing beats you can use to convey:


Emotional Beats | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Read for free with KU

Characters will often experience sadness. Many will cry (see next), but some may display their sadness with a relaxation of the muscles. For example:

  • He hunched.
  • She slouched.
  • Her shoulders sagged.
  • His shoulders slumped.
  • She wilted.
  • He went limp.
  • He yawned.
  • The whole world seemed to be moving in slow motion. She felt like she was walking in a dream world; a horrific, nightmarish dream world.
  • He heard a roaring in his ears and lost track of what others were saying [this is also a physical manifestation of unbearable grief].
  • Her heart stuttered, and there was this falling, spinning-down feeling.
  • His face sagged.
  • He lowered his head.
  • She hung her head.
  • She bowed her head.
  • Her countenance tumbled into a dark thing.


Joy, sadness, exhaustion. The reasons behind a character’s tears can be numerous. So, what kind of crying is your character experiencing? Here are some common ways of crying, that will allow you to use the perfect word for each occasion:

  • Bawl: This is an unattractive, loud crying that is characterized by mutters, truncated, erratic breathing, clenched facial expressions, and a hunched posture.
  • Howl: This heavy crying results in an inability to speak or produce sounds even resembling words.
  • Lament: This kind of crying comes from grief, regret or sorrow.
  • Silent Tears: This is a soft, inaudible crying that does not draw attention. Try to avoid displaying it as a single tear rolling down one’s cheek, as this has been overused and is considered a cliché.
  • Sob: In a sense, this is the opposite of the silent tears. It is heavy crying with a large volume of tears flowing steadily. It does not have to be  inappropriately loud, but it is characterized by the noisy intake of breaths.
  • Snivel: Audible but soft crying. It usually indicates the presence of drool or mucus.
  • Squall: A loud cry signifying emotional distress. It is usually associated with infants or very young children.
  • Wail: The distinguishing feature of wailing is the high pitch.
  • Weep: A gentler version of sobbing. It involves a soft, steady stream of tears.
  • Whimper: Soft and irregular crying. There are usually few or no tears.
  • Whine: Crying in distress, or in a high-pitched, complaining manner.


  • A sigh escaped his lips.
  • He released an old man’s sigh.
  • A groan accompanied the roll of his eyes.
  • His shoulders dropped with a sigh.
  • He stood there shaking, a low groaning sound bubbling from his mouth.

Next week: pain. View all posts on the subject, or buy the book on Amazon – free on KU!

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