forum How to describe surprise or being caught off guard in first person pov
Started by @NotSoBeautifulDiseaster group

people_alt 55 followers


Mainly focus on the character's senses and how they feel. You can also look up synonyms for suddenly and other similar words. Another tip, practice foreshadowing.

For example:

As I slowly tread down the path I see something shimmer with the corner of my eye, so I look towards that direction just to see a pile of pointed leaves, red like my grandmother's curtain. I squint my eyes to try and get a better view, and then I see something! A piece of sharp metal, hidden beneath the red leaves. I hesitantly walk over to the pile of the leaves, to push them out of the way with my bare hands. My eyes open wide, instantaneously filled with worry, when I read the sign that was buried underneath the red poisonous leaves.

(Not the greatest, just something real quick.)

@Starfast group

I don't want to use 'suddenly blah blah'. Any examples

I don't know if you're still looking for advice, but if you are, one tip that I found is just to remove the word suddenly from the sentence. So for example instead of "I was watching TV when I heard a loud crash from the other room." You would write "I was watching TV when I heard a loud crash from the other room." It's such an easy fix, but I find it makes my writing so much more effective.

I think that @Zoe-the-GM has some good points about foreshadowing and building suspense, but I would also add that body language can also be really effective. If someone is shocked or surprised then they might raise their eyebrows, have their jaw hanging open, take a step backwards, let out a gasp, among other things. Sometimes when I'm stuck I'll google "surprised body language" and either look at the web results, or at the images (which tend to mostly be over exaggerated stock photos) as kind of a starting point if that makes sense (works for other emotions too).