- Surprise is one of seven universal expressions (also included are disgust, sadness, joy, contempt, anger, and fear.)
- It displays neither positive or negative attributes.
- It takes in as much information as possible in a short period of time. It's instantaneous and not planned. Brief.
- Can segue into other emotions in seconds.
- Hiding surprise is not an option.
- If it's prolonged, it's shock.
- Surprised and startled are two different things. Startled is to have a fearful reaction to an external stimuli.
- The main purpose of surprise or startle is to interrupt another action and make the character focus on the new stimuli
- The opposite of surprise is anticipation
To show surprise:
- eyebrows up and curved
- upper eyelids raised to open eyes wider
- quick breath (not always)
- open mouth, jaw drops (not always)
- horizontal wrinkles appear on forehead
- can jump back in surprise
- hand can fly to collarbone
- may blurt out a curse or euphemism (using dialogue to indicate surprise)
- may go pale
- stop breathing for a moment
- quirks--hiccups, clasps hands, goosebumps
- pupil dilation or constriction
- tenseness in muscles, especially the neck muscles
- fight or flight (this is more for startle) response
Have a great day!
Emotions: Showing Surprise
Writeworld.org: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions