I didn’t get to do this kind of post, a review of sorts about writing guides/books. I’d planned to last year but better late than never, right? Besides, it’s long overdue to shout from the mountain tops how much I love The Emotions Thesaurus.
How much do I love it?
Well to quote Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ‘let me count the ways!’
I love how it reminds the writer all the ways a character can speak without the use of their mouth. When I got back into the writing game after a long detour, I admit my characters were one dimensional. They spoke but they rarely moved on the page. Literally and figuratively. And then I purchased this wonderful book and my eyes were re-opened. I remembered that body language too spoke volumes.
I love how it helps you to give your character(s) depth. Now I’m piggybacking from the previous point but characterization is important. It is one of the many elements of storytelling. One that turns a fictional world into a living, breathing reality as real as the ones we live in. And like people, characters have dreams and fears. They have loved and lost. And like you they’re also trying to find their place in the world. Basically, like you, they have emotions that drive them to think and act a certain way. And as writers, we need to be able to convey that.
I love how it helps readers connect with your characters. I know when I’m reading a book I’m interested in two things. Plot and character. But if I can’t connect with the character, want to root for them, chances are high I won’t bother to keep turning the page. The emotions thesaurus helps to better convey a character’s emotion. So that readers can cry with, hope with them. Or bash them upside their head when they’re being stupid. A bond forged between reader and book strengthened by creatively showing the emotions. And not over relying on telling it.
I love how it helps enhance your voice. Whew, finding your voice is not easy. Boy is it not easy to the point I might not be able to explain this properly. But if you’re able to, please share your insights in the comments below. Anyways, if I had to explain it myself voice is a style a personality. The same way how “No two persons ever read the same book”- Ed Wilson. No two writers will write the same book if you give them both the same story prompt. For example, from my WIP Dreaming of You ch7:
He probably even had a ‘V’ sexier than the little bit D’Angelo showed in his video. Her mouth watered at the thought and she itched to rip off his multi-colored plaid tie, tie him up and tear off his clothes to find out for herself.
The thesaurus provides you with a listing of many different variations of emotional reactions, physical, internal and emotional. The emotion above portrays desire.
I love how it’s easy to use. It’s set up like a thesaurus. Duh. And the emotions are in alphabetical order, with a short definition. And followed by a listing of the common physical signs of the emotions. As well as the internal sensations and mental responses. It also provides a listing of other emotion(s) it might develop into and a writer’s tip at the end of each emotion.
No matter what stage you are in your writing career; aspiring, emerging or blockbuster, this book is a nifty tool to have on your shelf. Can’t figure out how to best describe how happy your character(s) are? Overusing dialogue and thoughts? Overusing idioms and cliches like happy as a lark? Then The Emotions Thesaurus by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman is for you.
Do you currently own The Emotions Thesaurus? How has it helped you?
PS I strongly recommended getting the other writing guides from the thesaurus collection. I definitely will.