Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression” as Want to Read:
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.47 of 5 stars 4.47  ·  rating details  ·  1,997 ratings  ·  324 reviews
One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character's emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This bookcomes 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 int
Paperback, 170 pages
Published May 2012 by JADD Publishing (first published April 21st 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Emotion Thesaurus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Emotion Thesaurus

On Writing by Stephen KingThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.Bird by Bird by Anne LamottWriting Down the Bones by Natalie GoldbergEats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Best Books on Writing
31st out of 516 books — 939 voters
How to Format Your Book by Dorothy May MercerOn Writing by Stephen KingThe Emotion Thesaurus by Angela AckermanSelf-Publishing In the Eye of the Storm by Karl WigginsSave the Cat! by Blake Snyder
Best How To Writing Books
3rd out of 41 books — 53 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is a reference book, for the times you need to look up--not synonyms but descriptions, ways you can write to show your character's emotions. Pretty fancy, huh. Each entry (emotion) has several descriptions that are divided into Physical Signals, Internal Sensations, Mental Responses, Cues of Acute (Insert Emotion Here) and Cues of Suppressed (Insert Emotion Here).

If you are: an observant person and/or reader (and have been reading for pleasure since you were a child), have taken a beginner'
This book is a real gem. I'm often reluctant to read books about writing techniques because I feel that trying too hard to 'stick to the rules' sucks a lot of the fun out of writing, and can leave me creatively paralysed for fear of 'getting it wrong.' Not so this book. If you ever find it hard to think of ways to describe your characters' emotions without falling back on the same old cliches (and let's face it, who doesn't?), then this book will give you a great nudge in the right direction. I ...more
I read "The Emotion Thesaurus" shortly after reading "The Negative Trait Thesaurus," and now quite many details and notations made in the latter work make sense. This is another valuable title to have in a writing library, because it examines how emotions are not only shown in a narrative, but also how they function and how to make the most of them in your writing. Again, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi did a phenomenal job with the research and expansion on character emotions, actions, and ge ...more
Juli Morgan
When I sit down at my computer to write I do three things before starting: I close my office door, I crank up some rock 'n roll, and I make sure The Emotion Thesaurus is open on my Kindle reader app on my desktop.

Every writer can learn something from this excellent resource. Look up the emotion your character is experiencing and you'll find physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term effects of said emotion, cues of suppressed emotion, a list of other emo
S.A. Larsen
Jun 04, 2012 S.A. Larsen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writers of all genres, high school and college students
The Emotional Thesaurus is a fantastic writer's handbook, and must have as a reference while writing to help bring clarity yet interest to one's writing.

Angela and Becca have created a functional tool to enhance an author's writing and storytelling choices. The book is written in an easy-to-read-and-follow format, which is great for any writer, even high school and college students.

I especially liked the breakdown of words into Verbal and Nonverbal Communication, Physical Signals, Mental Respons
Stina Lindenblatt
I had a chance to beta read this book and it is BRILLIANT!!!! If you love the blog, you're going to love the book even more. Angela and Becca have added more emotions (there's over 70 listed) and more categories within each emotion. This is a must have for all writers.
Seeley James
I've been using this book since it came out. Not because I don't know these things already, but because, like all writers, I tend to use the same phrases over and over. This book fires the imagination, freshens your phrasing, and can even change the direction of a scene (Wait a minute, she wasn't unhappy, she was desperate -> she curled her hands around her head and twisted back and forth, saying, "please, please, don't leave me here...".)

If you've stared at the page and realized this was the
Ksenia Anske
If you're not a native speaker writing in English like me (I'm from Russia), this book is a gem. I struggle with defining emotion because mostly those words are concepts, harder to grasp than objects or colors or places or such. This book is sitting on my desk so I can consult it like an emotional map, opening it up alphabetically on Anger or Terror, and scanning through a list of typical physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, and some marvelous tips, like searching the whole m ...more
As a newbie/wanna be writer, I'm always looking for tools to help me improve. Writing good stories take study, practice and motivation.

The Emotion Thesaurus is a very good tool to help anyway who wants to write. The book is divided in 2 parts. The first part, the author explains motivations, story flow and how to keep things going. It is a very interesting tutorial and, to me, the best part of the book.

The second part is the thesaurus itself. For every emotion, you will see a definition, physica
Jo-Ann Carson
While realtors hail, “Location, location, location;” writers shout, “emotion, emotion, emotion.”
You can never get enough on the page. Good stories are filled with emotion. But writing it isn’t easy.
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression written and published by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi is an amazing resource for writers looking for the perfect word or phrase to capture a feeling.
Here’s what it’s done for me:
My before:
I relied on a small stable of words and expre
Rachel Whitley
Apr 29, 2012 Rachel Whitley marked it as to-read
I . AM . SO EXCITED! If you're a writer, and you haven't checked out the blog called The Bookshelf Muse, do so at your earliest convenience. It contains some of the most unique and useful collections of resources for writers I've ever found on the internet! This book springs from that blog, and for me, it's a must-read!
Catrina Barton
I can tell you I already love this book. After seeing the example in their newsletter {which I strongly recommend writers sign up for} I'm on pins and needles waiting for the release day. I go to their site and use the thesaurus on a daily basis. This little treasure trove is a must have for all writers.
Nicole Dunlap
The best book I've ever read on emotions and a lot of key rules that I will be using. All I can say is thanks!!!!
Cathy  Keaton
You can also read this review on my blog:

When I first learned about The Emotion Thesaurus I was intrigued. Was this like a regular thesaurus, but for emotions? Would I be able to look up any type of human emotion and find varying ways to portray it through prose that would help me avoid being redundant and stale? The answer to these questions is a definite YES.

What a brilliant idea it was to create this amazing resource for fiction writers! The authors of
Paul R. Drewfs
Picture me dancing with abandon around the late night campfire like a Johnny on the spot gold rich prospector. Yessiree, life’s been pretty damned good up to now, but it just went antimatter fueled supernovae. How so; my copy of the Emotion Thesaurus; a Writers Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi came by big brown is beautiful truck. Fearing the tome fool’s gold, I leapt right into her and took her out for a test drive: leaving my socks and shoes smoking on the car ...more
This book tells me how a a character feels and acts under the influence of certain emotions, including body language and facial expression.

I've long wished for a book like this.

There have been books and classes before telling writers about character emotions, but those haven't been as helpful. Typically, those books and classes get it the wrong way round: they tell how to read body language (if a character's posture looks so-and-so, it means he's feeling such-and-such). As a writer, I found thos
Pam (E.P. Scott)
This is one of those books that a writer should have beside them as a quick reference in order to 'switch up' the common words and phrases for emotion.

The thesaurus has a section for the most common emotions, anger, desire, doubt, fear etc with a definition of the emotion at the beginning and then, within each section there is a subsection for physical signs, internal sensations, mental reactions, short/long term effects, and what it may escalate to.

There are writers tips throughout the thesau
K.M. Weiland
I have long used the authors' fabulous blog The Bookshelf Muse ([...]) as a go-to source for on-the-spot inspiration whenever I need a unique synonym. When I heard they were compiling their wisdom into a book, I was thrilled! This is a one-of-a-kind resource for the writer. Offering synonyms (and more) for emotions of every stripe - as well as some sound writing advice throughout - this is just the sort of tome to have sitting within reach of the keyboard. A quick flip through the pages is sure ...more
Danny Tyran
Useful reference book when the right words to describe an emotion don't jump to your mind. There are many pages on emotions with ideas about how to describe them. This can be a catalyst to stimulate your own creativity when words fail you. But this book is no substitute for your own sense of observation.
Steena Holmes
If you are a writer/author - you NEED this book.
By Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Grade A
“All successful novels, no matter what genre, have one thing in common: emotion. It lies at the core of every character’s decision, action, and word, all of which drive the story. Without emotion, a character’s personal journey is pointless.”
This is the note with which Ms. Ackerman and Ms. Puglisi start the book. And I am sure that none of us would deny this fact.
One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the r
I’ve long been a fan of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s blog, The Bookshelf Muse, as it offers great tools and resources for writers. When they announced that they were compiling their info and writing a book, countless other writers and I were thrilled.

Angela and Becca believe that emotions are the core of good characters. “Without emotion,” they say, “a character’s personal journey is pointless.” This is true, but how do we translate that emotion into print to provide a rich and satisfyin
Stuart Aken
I promised my wonderful and long-suffering wife that I wouldn’t buy any more book until I’d read everything on our shelves. Now, here I am buying a new thesaurus after reading only 31 of the original 188 titles awaiting my attention. Why? Well a friend (she’s a friend, and she made me break a promise to my wife?) passed on a review of this book. I’m afraid I can’t now find the link to that review, but thanks to whoever it was! It was the review that persuaded me to bend my knee and ask my lovely ...more
Sharon Lippincott
Every author should have this book near at hand. You probably know that readers relate most strongly to stories with lots of emotional expression, but you may not know how to do this beyond occasional statements like "She had never felt so angry." The Emotion Thesaurus will give you the tools you need to embed emotion into dialogue and nonverbal expressions like facial expression, behavior, and movement. You'll learn about likely mental responses or self-talk, and typical internal sensations.

Brooke Hargett
I cannot say enough about how much I love this book!! I saw some people suggest it online and after finding out what it was- I ordered it right away. It is a FANTASTIC writing resource!

When writing, sometimes its hard to come up with new ways of describing feelings or situations so Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi came up with this amazing book. You identify the "root emotion" that you are trying to describe, and then they have a list of the following things for each root emotion: physical sig
Ava Jae
I tweeted a while back that The Emotion Thesaurus is perpetually open in my Nook app while revising, and I wasn’t exaggerating. Whenever I reach a moment where I’m struggling to describe an emotion, or I get a CP note asking for more emotion from a character, I open up The Emotion Thesaurus.

It’s not a book that you necessarily read from cover to cover (although you’re more than welcome to), it’s a resource that you open when trying to describe a particular (or several) emotions. What I love abou
Very useful, very down-to-earth - as the title indicates, this isn't so much a book to read as one in which to look things up. The authors have catalogued a great number of emotional and mental states in which writers (or visual artists, or actors) need to realistically portray their characters, and then for each, listed physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, cues of that state in an acute or long-term form, and cues of the state being present but suppressed.

Not all the cues wi
The Emotion Thesaurus contains some opening material about characterization, showing versus telling, and using this thesaurus as inspiration and applying it naturally to characters and their surroundings. This opening material is nothing particularly new or ground-breaking, but I see how it's necessary--sort of a why-you-need-this-book combined with a disclaimer.

The bulk of of the text is made up of sections dedicated to many different emotions, where each section includes a list of ways to disp
Sue Coletta
Every writer needs the Emotional Thesaurus in their toolbox. The more books you write the harder it gets to not use the same emotional ques, and this book helps you think about the physical as well as internal that make great fiction more believable. This book is not meant to give you the answers but to show you different ways emotion is expressed through body language and thoughts. It teaches you to gradually let the emotion take over your character rather than to go from zero to one hundred in ...more
Shah Wharton
A brilliant resource for fiction writers - packed with description cues and insights on personality traits, physicality, human responses and physical behaviours to all kinds of emotions.

Such a great thing to have on hand while you add those all important layers to your MS.

Also, please check out their blog for many more descriptions, including places, types of weather, etc. And they have a great blog roll too :) X
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Excellent resource 10 21 Jan 14, 2015 01:38PM  
Can't wait 10 32 Aug 18, 2012 01:22AM  
  • Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View
  • Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
  • The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
  • Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
  • Elements of Fiction Writing - Conflict and Suspense
  • The Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately about Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior
  • Description & Setting
  • Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction
  • Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
ANGELA ACKERMAN lives near Calgary, Alberta, just a short drive from the Canadian Rockies. She is a co-author of the popular book, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression which profiles seventy-five emotions to help writers show, not tell what their characters are feeling. She also helped pen The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes and The Neg ...more
More about Angela Ackerman...
The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes Emotion Amplifiers

Share This Book