One of my favorite things to write is emotion. There is nothing more exhilarating than letting my characters express their deepest and rawest emotions. Writing a scene where a character bares their entire being and soul is so cathartic. It can be anything from joy to sadness to rage. Every single emotion is just as important than the last. Each smile, each tear shed, will expose your reader to who your character is. In order to do that, their emotions need to be authentic and realistic. As a writer, you want to bring your readers along for the ride with your characters. You want your readers to feel what your characters are feeling. But how can you do that? How can you make your characters emotions leap off the page and affect the reader as if they were experiencing it themselves?
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi's "The Emotion Thesaurus" is the perfect guide to use while figuring out just how you want your character to express whatever they're feeling. Originally published in 2012, and the expanded edition in 2019, "The Emotion Thesaurus" offers every single emotion under the sun and so much more.
With over 130 emotions featured, it's easy to get hopelessly sucked into this book. It offers everything from Amazement to Dread to Nostalgia to Schadenfreude (which is just as much fun to say as it to write), each emotion has two full pages dedicated to it.
With a definition and lists of everything from physical signals and behaviors, internal sensations, mental responses, acute or long-term responses, and signs that those emotions are being suppressed, this guide will become a writer's best friend. Each entry ends with a writer's tip to help further bring out the current emotion.
"The Emotion Thesaurus" is my absolute favorite guide to use when writing. It never leaves my side. It is so intricately detailed and full of incredible ways to bring your characters emotions to life. This book deserves to be owned and treasured by every writer. And the best news? There's more books in this collection!!!
The Emotional Wound Thesaurus
The Urban Setting Thesaurus
The Rural Setting Thesaurus
The Negative Trait Thesaurus
The Positive Trait Thesaurus
And coming soon: The Occupation Thesaurus
I will be reviewing all of these guides, dedicating a separate post to each of them. All of these books are so incredible and necessary buys for every writer.
Also, if you would like any more writing tips from Angela and Becca, you can visit their website:
There, they offer a lot more great resources for writers including the Conflict Thesaurus, a newsletter, and a suggestion box where you can reach out to Angela and Becca and ask questions or just leave a comment.
Next time you want to bring your characters emotions to life, pick up "The Emotion Thesaurus". You will not be disappointed.