How To Write Character Emotion: CURIOSITY

9 years ago

Is curiosity an emotion, or is it a state of mind—part of the intellect? Just curious...

Synonyms: inquisitiveness, interest, questioning (think about a child), prying, snoopiness, intrusiveness, nosiness, intrigue

Once again, I believe there are degrees of curiosity, but this time from the synonyms that have a positive slant to those that are more negative: desire to learn, inquisitiveness, intrigue, interest, questioning, intrusiveness, snoopiness, nosiness, prying

Quote: "Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ideas For Writing Curiosity:
1. Through dialogue and internalization. (I immediately thought of my children at that between-toddler-and-child-stage, where every other word was "Why?" Often my thoughts and my answers were not the same thing, which I find very interesting.)

2. Through metaphor. (like a scientist on a quest, blazing trails, like a bloodhound in search of a clue, other suggestion anyone?)

3. Show curiosity leading to discovery, and possibly that discovery leading to more curiosity.

Emotional/Physical Response: something prodding you on to learn more (even those scary slasher movies where stupid people have to find out what’s making that strange noise); increasing pulse, eyes wide open, head looking around, eyes examining, pondering, thinking about, perusal, wants/has to learn more, forward motion, one discovery leads to more curiosity which leads to more discovery, etc.

Example From Literature:

"Nothing there!" said Peter, and they all trooped out again--all except
Lucy. She stayed behind because she thought it would be worthwhile trying the
door of the wardrobe, even though she felt almost sure that it would be locked.
To her surprise it opened quite easily, and two moth-balls dropped

Looking into the inside, she saw several coats hanging up--mostly long
fur coats. There was nothing Lucy liked so much as the smell and feel of fur.
She immediately stepped into the wardrobe and got in among the coats....Soon she went further in and found that there was a second row of coats hanging up behind
the first one....She took a step further in--then two or three

"This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!" thought Lucy, going still
further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats aside to make room for her.
Then she noticed... (from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis)


This is how curiosity works--we find something that pushes us further along, sometimes leading to a discovery that pushes us either further along. Think about Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Alice follows the same pattern as Lucy--curiosity, discovery, further curiosity, etc.

So back to my original question: Is curiosity an emotion or state of mind? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

And don't forget, every time you join the discussion of emotion on this week's post, I enter your name yet another time in the drawing for Robert Whitlow's latest legal thriller, "Higher Hope." Curiosity plays a big part in legal literature. Aren't you CURIOUS to see who's going to win the book?

NEXT POST: How To Write Character Emotion: DESIRE

(Join the discussion at I'm bribing for comments. Aren't you curious?)

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