“The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression”

“The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression”

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi


I was stuck: several different characters that showed their emotions the same ways. Worse: I have lots more characters to throw into the mix. Still Worse: The characters cover almost every age group possible.

Poking through Amazon writing book recommendations led me to “The Emotion Thesaurus”. Yay Amazon! Within a few days I was eagerly testing to see if this was a good buy. Almost a dozen useful pages of introductory material followed by seventy some emotional states. Each state has roughly two pages of information and a random “Writer’s Tip”.

Each emotion starts with a one line “Definition”. Then a couple dozen “Physical Signals” for third person description followed by a few “Internal Sensations” and “Mental Responses”. I’m working on more First Person writing and those two sections are really helpful!

Next up are “Cues of Acute or Long-Term ”. What happens when you’ve been for too long or too deeply? Then the kicker: “May Escalate To”. If the character is now then it may lead to one or more . My stories develop as I write and getting ideas on how the current scene can impact a character later is awesome! It gets me thinking about what can happen and gives the reader a better story. Last up are “Cues of Suppressed ”; what might it look like if the character doesn’t want to show their ? Or can’t?

Seventy plus emotions given great detail. Start with “Adoration”. End with “Worry”. Find “Defeat”, “Desire”, “Happiness”, and “Regret” in between. I’ve used this already and will continue to do so.

Would I Buy Again? Yup