The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

by Becca Puglisi, Angela Ackerman

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The bestselling Emotion Thesaurus, often hailed as "the gold standard for writers" and credited with transforming how writers craft emotion, has now been expanded to include 55 new entries!

One of the biggest struggles for writers is how to convey emotion to readers in a unique and compelling way. When showing our characters' feelings, we often use the first idea that comes to mind, and they end up smiling, nodding, and frowning too much.

If you need inspiration for creating characters' emotional responses that are personalized and evocative, this ultimate show-don't-tell guide for emotion can help. It includes:

• Body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for 130 emotions that cover a range of intensity from mild to severe, providing innumerable options for individualizing a character's reactions
• A breakdown of the biggest emotion-related writing problems and how to overcome them
• Advice on what should be done before drafting to make sure your characters' emotions will be realistic and consistent
• Instruction for how to show hidden feelings and emotional subtext through dialogue and nonverbal cues
• And much more!

The Emotion Thesaurus, in its easy-to-navigate list format, will inspire you to create stronger, fresher character expressions and engage readers from your first page to your last.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940161282748
Publisher: JADD Publishing
Publication date: 02/19/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 83,484
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are bestselling authors, writing coaches, and international speakers. Their books are available in multiple languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela and Becca also co-founded their popular Writers Helping Writers site, a hub where authors can hone their craft, as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.

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The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have waited months for this book to be published. The authors' blog the bookshelf muse is a treasure of info for a writer, but sometimes it's not practical to visit in the middle of writing or revising. This book has so much more info than just on emotions. The authors have given examples of telling vs. showing and cliched expressions. Each emotion comes with physical and internal signs. There is a progression of emotion into other emotions or other levels of this emotion. At $4.99 you can't go wrong in buying this book. MM, Workships with MM
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great resource for any writer. It not only describes the emotion but does it in a way that puts the emotion on a continuum. It ranges from mild to more intense. It's a great book!
transplantedsoutherner More than 1 year ago
I started using this book as soon as it arrived. Instead of spending fifteen minutes coming up with some body language, I could run through the contents where the emotions are listed alphabetically and go to that page then decide what the point of view character would be feeling (internal sensations) or what someone else would be seeing (visual). I thought it might have photographs, but those aren't necessary. The authors have gone the extra step that photographs would have forced: describing the expression. It's in a large format so that it's easier to hold flat then some bindings. A wonderful, wonderful resource.
ReenaJacobs More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, I was a bit bummed to see one of my favorite free resources with a price tag. But really, I don't blame the authors. Their online Emotion Thesaurus was a treasure cove. In the end, I didn't want to be without it and made the purchase. The Emotion Thesaurus is an excellent resource. The purpose of the book isn't to copy and paste ways to show the emotion into your own writing, but rather to help spur your imagination... give you ideas to expand upon. Okay... I'll be honest, I didn't read this book in its entirety. But then again, it's not that kind of book, since it's for reference. Without fail, I've gone to the Bookshelf Muse (the author's website) to surf the Emotion Thesaurus during the writing process, and even more often during the editing process. The website offered a variety of ways to show different emotions. No more getting stuck with a frown for anger or a smile for happiness. The Bookshelf Muse provided ways how to show emotions throughout your character (internally/externally, facial/body). When the author/blogger condensed and simplified the Emotion Thesaurus on her blog, she didn't leave us hanging. Instead, she put everything plus some in this book. What I like less about the eBook version: Clicking through the emotions isn't nearly as easy as the website version. With the website, I simply went to the sidebar and clicked the emotion. In the eBook version, I might have to flip through a few pages before I can click to the table of content then flip through more pages before I hit the emotion I want. Still, the author made it as convenient as possible. At the end of each emotion there is the option to click the table of contents. What I liked more about the eBook version: Not worrying about having an internet connection or her blog being down (not that I recall her blog ever going down). When I'm stumped, I just pick up my eReader and find the emotion I need. Definitely a 5 star resource book and worth every brown cent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was very helpful during the writing process. Before I purchased this I was always flipping through the pages of my thesaurus. This pertains specifically to the writer which was so helpful.
kbaccellia More than 1 year ago
I totally love this ebook! I'm a YA author and I've been using this to help dig deeper in my own writing. I love how it's organized by emotions. This ebook shows writers different ways of expressing their characters different emotions without being too cliche. A must add to any collection.
tx_writer More than 1 year ago
The Emotion Thesaurus tries to cover every potential emotional area a writer might want to explore for characters. I used most of the examples to help me narrow down the emotional state I wanted for a particular scene. The ebook made it easy to jump from the table of contents list of emotions directly to the one I selected, then back again. That certainly made jumping around easy. I recommend this book.
ReneeKytokorpi More than 1 year ago
This book is exactly as described. Contains lists of 'showing' ways to express an emotion of different intensities, sorted by emotion. Very useful and very straightforward!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this not because i needed it. I have a tablet so its easy to access their site on the go. I wanted to support the authors because what they did with this book is a tremendous help. I would gladly buy their other thesauriif they were made available!
THHernandez 4 months ago
I want to scream from the rooftops to every author out there: go get this book! We’re constantly told to “show, don’t tell,” but finding the right way to show can make all the difference in the world between a scene that merely goes through the motions and one that that brings the reader deep into the story and allows them to get lost. THE EMOTION THESAURUS is part how-to, and part reference. After learning how to use the guide, there are 130 entries to help you find the right way to show character emotions. With helpful cross-references it’s easy to find the right way to show escalation from anger to rage or de-escalation to mere annoyance. All the body language, both internal and external, can be used to kickstart the analogies and symbolism necessary to tell a compelling story. Because weak verbs can be the death of good writing, the authors also include power verbs for each entry to further stimulate creative writing. And finally, each entry includes helpful writing tips, such as: Pay special attention to the events leading up to an emotional response. If the plotting feels contrived, the character’s emotion will feel contrived as well. Each entry includes physical signals, behaviors, internal sensations, mental responses, long term responses to an emotion, and signs that an emotion has been suppressed rather than dealt with, providing all the pieces to construct dazzling scenes. Bottom Line One of the best references for creative writing I’ve ever read.
writester More than 1 year ago
Even Better Than the First I bought the original version of The Emotion Thesaurus in 2012 and was so delighted with the purchase, I selected other Thesaurus products as the authors released them. When I learned there was a new, expanded edition of The Emotion Thesaurus, I didn’t hesitate. I snatched it right up. If you’re like me, you haven’t looked at the opening pages since you first bought the book. Trust me—look at them again. The lessons and examples are invaluable. Ackerman and Puglisi have provided an excellent primer on what to do and what not to do. The beginning offers five vehicles for portraying emotions, ways to make emotions authentic, an in-depth tutorial on using dialogue, a detailed section on nonverbal communication, and some great examples of subtext. This is all before we get to any of the emotions. And that information alone is worth the cost of the book. But they aren’t close to finished. There are now over 130 emotions to choose from. Each listing gives a definition, physical cues, internal reactions, mental reactions, acute reactions, signs of repression, options for escalation and de-escalation, associated power verbs (I love that), and writer’s tips. In short, it’s a comprehensive overview of dozens of emotions and how to use them effectively in stories. This is one resource you’ll use again and again (and again). You don’t want to miss it.
ABCollins More than 1 year ago
Take a look at the people around you. Some of them are wide open, others keep to themselves. Some are loud, some quiet and reserved. Human beings react to situations in very different ways. That’s what authors want to do with their characters, and it’s not always easy to write what you want them to feel/think/say/do. That’s where the Emotion Thesaurus 2nd Edition comes into play. Yes, the brilliant Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are back with an expanded edition of their first book. There are 55 new emotions to help authors make their characters authentic and real, and to get readers to empathize with them, and want to keep turning those pages, and buying those books. With the new additions, it brings a total of 130 emotions to refer to. But it’s not just 55 new emotions – this book really digs deep into writing those stories. Angela and Becca have done the tough research for us, making this one of the best writing guidebooks around. (Of course there are more great guidebooks in their Thesauri collection!) This book covers the power of emotion, writing authentic emotion, using dialogue to write emotion, subtext, and tackles common problems when writing nonverbal emotion. How something is said takes on different meanings when you look at what the character is doing, or even not doing. Readers want to see the range of emotions characters feel, not just the surface ones. Body language cues and visceral reactions take the story into a deep point of view, and help make the characters compelling enough to spend a few hours with. Authors need to dig deep and write fresh, use fresh techniques for taking characters on their journeys so readers want to go along with them. We don’t want to use clichéd, overused, trite, bland emotions. This book is THE KEY! If you’re not familiar with the first Emotion Thesaurus, here’s a quick breakdown of what each entry contains: • Definition • Notes (ie: the difference between Empathy and Sympathy, to name 2 emotions) • Physical signals and behaviors • Internal sensations • Mental responses • Acute or long-term responses for this emotion • Signs that emotion is being suppressed • May escalate to (links to the emotions that could come next) • May de-escalate to (links to the emotions that could come after the emotion) • Associated power verbs • Writer’s tip See? They did the research for you! As an author, I’m eternally grateful to Angela and Becca for doing the hard work, for continuing to research and write new thesauri that are such important tools to authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well organized, covers many topics, with many offerings for each emotion. I found it helpful dn easy to use.
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Lolafalana More than 1 year ago
When I thought my brain would explode during revisions of my latest novel, I came across this gem. Thank the heavens!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dichotomy6958 More than 1 year ago
How well-rounded are your characters?  Do you default to limiting their reactions to the major 6 or 7 emotions: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise?   Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have put together an excellent resource to help you express a full range of emotions in your story without turning to hackneyed clichés. Can you tell the difference between remorse and shame, worry and unease, or adoration and love?  How can you make sure that all your characters don’t react in the same manner to similar emotional triggers? "The Emotion Thesaurus" outlines 75 different emotions, and break each emotion into seven general categories: Definition Physical Signals Internal Sensations Mental Responses Cues of Acute or Long Term Emotion  May Escalate to some other Emotion Cues of Suppressed Emotion The physical signals, usually the longest sub-list for each emotion, ranges from very subtle  to blatant.  For example,  physical manifestations of contempt  stretch from a down-turned mouth to turning away dismissively; or, even more actively, spitting on an opponent.  These physical signals can easily be used for both first and third person points of view, but are especially beneficial when writing third-person limited, when the narrator doesn't have access to many of the characters’ thoughts or sensations. If your story’s point of view is first person, you will appreciate the sections of internal sensations and mental responses to round out your point of view character’s responses.  And, if the emotional tension isn't resolved immediately, you might want to turn next to the emotions identified that might escalate from the original scene. You can easily add depth to a character long before a conflict is presented by making use of the cues for a suppressed emotion, foreshadowing an upcoming scene. The authors also sprinkle in tips for writers, with reminders or suggestions on how best to present your characters’ emotional states; e.g., “WRITER’S TIP:  To generate friction in dialogue, give the participants opposing goals.  A heightened emotional response is the natural result of not getting what one needs.” "The Emotion Thesaurus" is a book that I plan on reading several times, just for the wealth of information contained therein.  I also anticipate it will be helpful in all stages of my writing:  when plotting an outline, a review of the possible emotions and emotive responses will be helpful in building tension throughout the story arc; during the actual writing of a scene, reviewing the emotion that is the focus of the action will assist in creating a response that rings true without depending on clichés; and during the editing process I plan on relying heavily on Ackerman & Puglisi’s "Emotion Thesaurus" to polish the final manuscript so that my characters’ emotions; good and bad, subtle and intense, are instrumental in bringing them to life for the reader. This is one resource book that I plan on keeping around both in its print version and as an e-book, so that it is always with me wherever I’m writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TooGoodToBeTrue More than 1 year ago
Terrific reference for writing
Beth_Mac More than 1 year ago
Absolutely essential for every writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago