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

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  3,932 ratings  ·  517 reviews
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 in
Paperback, 170 pages
Published May 2012 by JADD Publishing (first published April 21st 2012)
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4.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,932 ratings  ·  517 reviews

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Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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'
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
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Juli Morgan
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
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
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
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Love this reference book. It's the writer's bible. Easy to navigate and loads of good ideas for the show not tell 'party'.
Stina Lindenblatt
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
S.A. Larsen
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Seeley James
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Apr 29, 2012 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!
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I definitely recommend this to all writers
Jo-Ann Carson
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
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
Catrina Barton
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Melanie Stanford
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So I haven't actually read this cover to cover. But after getting it from the library and skimming through, I realized this was a book I had to have on my shelf for future reference. I'm placing an order for it now. Excellent writing tool.
Hannah Rodriguez
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
yo a lot of good words and descriptions. definitely a favorite.
Nicole Dunlap
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Ava Jae
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
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
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been my #1 Go-To Writing Help book for my NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) project. With 2 full pages of ideas about how to SHOW character emotions for each of the 75 different entries, I have endless options for the physical signs, internal thoughts, and internal sensations (visceral reactions) for every emotion, whether the character is the point-of-view character or not.

*insert endless pages of gushing here* <--Seriously, it's that good, but I have to get back to writing n
Clare Farrelly
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is so useful, obviously it is not a book to sit and read through but it is a reference book for writing, and it is one of the most useful ones I have come across so far. It sits next to me whenever I am writing, and I keep going back to it and I want to own all of these books.

Saying that I don't actually own this one, I am borrowing it off a writer friend.... I will give it back one day....maybe.... but she knows where I live...
Danny Tyran
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you are a writer/author - you NEED this book.
Sharon M. Peterson
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is great to have for any writer’s toolbox. While I don’t need it everyday, it’s perfect when I’m stuck and need a little push. The book consists of feelings (ex. Amusement, anger, etc) and breaks down what those emotions look like in a character. As a reference book, it’s practical, easy to use, and worth having around.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A useful tool.
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
L.M. Nelson
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great resource for writers. I've always struggled with writing character expressions. This book is a valuable resource that gives not only alternative ways to express emotion, but also helpful writing tips.
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Excellent resource 10 29 Jan 17, 2018 02:30PM  
Can't wait 10 35 Aug 18, 2012 01:22AM  
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ANGELA ACKERMAN is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of 7 bestselling books for writers, including The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (now an expanded 2nd Edition). Her books are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world.

Angela is also the co-foun
“To avoid melodrama, recognize that emotions run along a continuum, from mild to extreme. For each situation, know where your character is along that continuum and choose appropriate descriptors.” 5 likes
“Because above all else, readers pick up a book to have an emotional experience. They read to connect with characters who provide entertainment and whose trials may add meaning to their own life journeys. As” 2 likes
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