Every author wants readers to be pulled in to their books, to fall for their characters, to root for them to overcome obstacles and have their happy ever after. In order to do this, writers need to dig past the superficial to the baggage their characters carry around, to find out why they are the way they are, and what caused it. Hence, the creation of The Emotional Wound Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.
The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is hands-down my new favorite writing resource. I know it will be the first book I go to every time I start a new manuscript.
Not only do I have a new resource for discovering the emotional wounds in my characters, I now have a much better understanding of some teachings by other writers. For instance, the “lie” and the “essence”, and the Fatal Flaw and how it ties in to your character’s conflict is another point that the authors have made clear to me. After reading the EWT, I actually understand how these work for characters, and what is driving them to their goals.
But this new reference book doesn’t just give you a laundry list of emotional wounds and traumas. Oh no, it goes way deeper. I highly recommend reading the first part of the book before you jump to what your wounding event could have been so that you gain a better understanding of how to put the information to the best use in your manuscripts. This book explains what an emotional wound or trauma is and how it can affect someone’s life either forever after, or until they recognize the behaviors and problems stemming from it and decide to make a change in themselves.
The authors of the EWT walk you through character arcs, brainstorming your character’s wound, factors that impact the wound, but best of all HOW TO REVEAL it through behavior to avoid the dreaded issue of backstory or info-dump.
The rest of the book is broken down into categories of emotional wounds, running the gamut from disabilities and disfigurements, to crime and victimization, injustice and hardship, betrayals, specific childhood wounds, which let’s face it, can be some of the most damaging wounds to characters.
Within each category is a breakdown of the types of wounds or traumas that could take place. For instance, a carjacking. Examples are given of how someone’s car was jacked, the basic needs sometimes compromised by this wound, false beliefs that could be embraced, fears the character may now have because of the incident, responses and results that could form later on, personality traits that could form—positive and negative, triggers that could aggravate the wound, finishing up with how the character could face or overcome the wound.
At the end of the book are worksheets writers can use to help them discovering just what trauma wounded their protagonist – or even their villains! There’s a Wound flowchart, an Arc progression tool, a backstory wound profile tool, and finishing up with wounding examples from popular stories.
The authors of the EWT had to dig deep into emotional traumas of all types, dig into the behaviors and personalities that stem from the wounds. Ackerman and Puglisi lived with their research so much so that the book opens with Self-Care for Writers, suggestions for how authors should take care in case any of the wound entries hit them where they are most vulnerable.
I’ve been a long-time fan of Angela Ackerman, Rebecca Puglisi, and their entire series of books, as well as their blog, and the One Stop for Writers website. Not a week goes by that I don’t use at least one of their other thesauruses. So speaking from personal experience, I can tell other authors that the Emotional Wound Thesaurus is a groundbreaking book that everyone can benefit from in order to write richer, more complex characters and stories. I send a huge thank you, and endless hugs to the EWT authors. You have my endless gratitude for not only putting together all your research, but for continuing to add to your series of thesauruses!
I am very excited to have won an advance copy of this book in order to review it. I can honestly say it’s the best reference book I’ve ever read! So don’t wait – order this book now from your favorite retailer. I know you’ll find it as invaluable as I do!