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  • Reena Deen

Reviewing The Emotion Thesaurus



I just realized that very few of us review craft books for writers. But craft books are essential. not just for newbies starting out in writing but for the very experienced as well.

So, my favorite book isn't exactly a craft book but it’s more like a tool. We all heard about how we have to show and not tell but how do we go about it? So when I first started out writing, reading The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi was super helpful. I could see why writing that Jamie was scared was not quite effective as saying her heart pounded and her eyes widened.


The one I got was the second edition and it’s something I use even now for my books. I love this so much because everything is listed according to emotions. So, for example if I wanted to portray that my character is feeling envy, all I have to do is to click on that section.


Each of the sections contains definition of the emotion, physical signs and behavior, mental responses and internal sensations. It doesn’t just stop there. The sections also talk about signs that show when these emotions have been suppressed as well as the long-term responses for these emotions.


This is incredibly helpful not to just to show how your character is feeling but also to understand the impact each emotion has on the character both on short term and long term.


The list is also incredibly detailed and varied. This means that you are not going to use clichés and you won’t be repeating phrases. Trust me, when you write 50k words, it’s hard not to repeatedly use certain words and phrases.


Plus it’s so easy to play around with it. You can mix and match phrases and words to create your own emotional responses for your characters. It also helps to spark off your own ideas and can help you to create your very own phrases. God knows, it helped me!


And it gets better. Each of the emotion is put on a scale so you don’t just have to choose anger. You could choose annoyance, frustration, anger, rage etc. I felt that this was very helpful for me because instead of just saying that someone felt sad or happy, it really made me think just how intense the emotion was and why I chose that particular intensity.


So overall, I’d give this book 5/5! It’s easy to use, super useful, affordable and works amazingly as a quick reference when you are writing or editing.

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