“Without emotion, a character’s personal journey is pointless.” – ‘The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd Edition’.
I’ve been an avid follower of ‘Writers Helping Writers’ back when it was still ‘The Bookshelf Muse’. I love the concise posts of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, along with their guest writers. What I found especially helpful was the lists they had describing emotions.
Being an emotional person (sometimes, too emotional!), I don’t have much trouble understanding emotions. My problem is running out of different ways to describe the emotions that pop up regularly in my writing, like ‘sad’, ‘happy’ and ‘angry’, and the more extreme emotions, like ‘rage’ and ‘shock’. And that’s where this book comes into its own. Where a regular thesaurus provides different words to describe a particular thing, ‘The Emotion Thesaurus’ provides different ways to describe a particular emotion.
It didn’t take long for the book to become the one that’s always by my side when I’m editing my drafts. Using it helps me add varying layers of depth to my characters’ emotions.
“… readers pick up a book to have an emotional experience.”
When I learned there was going to be an updated edition with even more emotions, I was over-the-moon! Not only are there 55 more emotions in the Second Edition, bringing the total to 130 emotions, there are an additional FIVE articles at the beginning of the book, making a total of seven, and they are:
The Power of Emotion.
Character Research: What to Know to Write Authentic Emotion.
Using Dialogue to Write Emotion.
Subtext: What Lies Beneath.
Additional Ideas for Brainstorming Fresh Emotion.
Common Problems with Writing Nonverbal Emotion.
Using the Emotion Thesaurus.
The last two were in the original edition but have more content added to them.
As with the original, ‘The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd Edition’ isn’t the kind of book to read cover to cover but one to dip into as and when the need arises, much like any dictionary or thesaurus.
The layout of the book is the same as the original, and I’m glad about that as it makes it easy to look up a specific emotion. Apart from a handy list of contents, the book is structured alphabetically.
Each emotion is laid out over two pages, starting with a short definition and the emotional reactions are broken down into subheadings – Physical Signals and Behaviours; Internal Sensations; Mental Responses; Acute or Long-Term Responses; and Signs that this Emotion is Being Suppressed. Depending how your character is reacting, you’re then led to other potential emotions via ‘May Escalate To…’ and ‘May De-escalate To…”
An extremely handy addition is the ‘Associated Power Verbs’ section. Examples for ‘Adoration’ include ‘awe’, ‘crave’, ‘enchant’, ‘obsess’, ‘yearn’ to name a few.
At the end of each emotion, there’s a useful ‘Writer’s Tip’ box with practical hints and tips.
For me, this book embraces the principle of ‘show, don’t tell’, something that isn’t as easy to do as it sounds. I honestly believe its been tremendously beneficial to my writing.
Before I go, I want to remind you Angela and Becca are giving away a free webinar recording of one of their popular workshops on Emotion. If you’re interested, don’t delay – it’s only available until the end of February.