Tags:
  1. Dem
    Offline

    Dem New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0

    How to convey confusion/doubt.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Dem, Sep 2, 2012.

    Hey!

    I'm in the middle of writing something, and I was wondering whether you guys had any tips on how to convey looks of confusion and/or doubt/incredulity. Whenever I try, I usually just fall back on telling the reader what the characters feel. Or rather, what their outward looks show.

    Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about:

    Character#1 says statement X.

    Character#2 looks confused/gives an expression of incredulity in response to statement X.

    Or such...

    I can describe other emotions like happiness, sadness, or anger fairly well. More complex feeling like, say, confusion or incredulity, however, is a lot harder.

    Please tell me if you have any tips to share.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. MeganHeld
    Offline

    MeganHeld Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    That works just fine. Confusion is just that. You cannot really describe it that much. You can say that Character #2 hesitated with a response, a sign that they were confused. You can always make Character #1 ask if they know what they said and then clarify it.
    Confusion is just one of those feelings that are hard to convey. Hope it helped a little.
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    You can show confusion by an inappropriate response based on a misinterpretation of what the first person said. Or you can have the confused person frown and hesitate, or tip their head to the side, or shake their head. Or they can say, "Huh?" Or look at the speaker as if he or she has sprouted an extra head.

    Many are the ways...
     
    CGB likes this.
  4. GHarrison
    Offline

    GHarrison Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Actually go and look into the mirror. Imagine what the first person says being said to you, watch your self as you respond phisically, as person 2 is supposed to. Take notes on what you see and what your contortions suggests you may be thinking. Then boil it down.
     
  5. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    netted his brows in confusion.
    Had that dimwitted wtf look on his mug
    His peepers bugged out in amazement.
    He goggled at him - "Whaaa?"
    That instant Billy-D was the perfect personification of incredulousity.
    He squinted at him like his braincells went out of focus - it'd clear in a minute. Ohho! He's got it.

    Actually the others gave the best advice. Here's a branch off Gharrison's tip - find a
    movie in which you love the characters expression of confusion and describe it.
     
  6. maidahl
    Offline

    maidahl Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    I'mscared
    Cartoon their faces in your head. Talk about the lines. Caricature rhetoric can paint a clear shot into the mind-frame of confusion. A good written sketch of a bewildered faces mentions why they are confused, how long they stay confused, and/or what they look like when confused. Good luck!


    "Many are the ways..."<---@Cogito: cute
     
  7. tlm89
    Offline

    tlm89 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I usually say things like: "Andrew scrunched his face"; "Andrew stared"; "Andrew's eyes clouded over"; "Andrew furrowed his brow" to show confusion.

    Rarely, I'll say: "Andrew was confused". I find it more interesting to read - and write - a sentence that shows the emotion as opposed to outright telling it.
     
  8. Dem
    Offline

    Dem New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the advice, everybody!

    It's been very helpful :)
     

Share This Page