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

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

4.9 23
by Becca Puglisi
One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character's emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each.

Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues


One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character's emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each.

Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them.

This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.

Product Details

JADD Publishing
Publication date:
The Bookshelf Muse Descriptive Thesaurus Collection , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
198 KB

Meet the Author

Angela Ackerman is a member of the SCBWI and writes on the darker side of Middle Grade and Young Adult. She believes in the monster under the bed, eats French fries and ice cream together and is dedicated to paying it forward however she can. Angela lives in Calgary, Alberta, in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies with her husband, two children, dog, and zombie-like fish.

Becca Puglisi is a YA fantasy and historical fiction writer, magazine author, and member of the SCBWI. She resides in sunny south Florida, where she likes to watch movies, drink caffeinated beverages, and eat foods that aren't good for her. She lives with her husband and two children.

Together, Angela and Becca host The Bookshelf Muse, an award-winning online resource for writers that offers a number of different thesauri to aid authors in their descriptive writing efforts.

You can visit their blog at:

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The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 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!
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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
miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
I was thrilled when I found out about this book. What an amazing help it has been to my writing. I can't live without it now and keep it on my desk whenever I'm writing - which is every day. One of the best writing tools I have ever come across. Every writer should have a copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago