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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Emotion Thesaurus

Remember that old commercial...She told two people and she told two people and she told two people....

Well, Dana told Leola and Leola told me and now I'm telling you about this terrific writer resource -

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character's emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them. This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.


While checking out the book, I visited the authors' blog and was amazed to see that they had tons of samples from the book online. Then I checked out the sidebar!

There's a..
  • Physical Attributes Thesaurus
  • Character Traits Thesaurus
  • Weather & Earthly Phenomen Thesaurus
  • Colors, Textures & Shapes Thesaurus
  • Settings Thesaurus
  • Symbolism Thesaurus
For instance...want to describe someone who is embarrassed?  Here's the entry...
• coughing
• stuttering, stammering
• speechlessness
• looking down, unable to meet another's eyes
• shoulders slumping, slouching, sagging, hunching
• a desire to run away
• glancing about as if for an exit or escape
• angry or knee-jerk reactions (lashing out, taking a cheap shot, name calling)
• gritting one's teeth, pressing the lips tight
• keeping a death grip on backpack straps, gripping school books against the chest
• rapidly walking away, keeping the head down
• excessive swallowing
• muddied or panicked thoughts
• lightheadedness, tingling in the chest or stomach
• pretending to not have heard or seen
• using long hair to hide the face
  Check out Angela & Becca's Emotion Thesaurus blog post at .

Happy Writing!


  1. I love this resource! It was recommended to me by a published author friend to fix some of the 'showing' problems in my manuscript.

  2. WOW! You guys are so sweet for the big shout out, and I love how word spread in this case--how utterly wonderful! Becca and I are so happy you are all finding this book a help. We really struggled with showing emotion in a fresh way, and when we looked, never found anything online to help. That's why we created the ET--we figured if we were struggling, maybe others were too. :)

    Love the header of your site as well--I love Arizona and was in Sedona last year at about this time. In fact, by an odd quirk of Fate, Becca was vacationing in the area too, and so we met up. She's in Florida and I'm in Canada, so this has only happened twice where we've hung out in person!

    I hope I can come back to Phoenix soon--I miss it!

    Happy writing!


  3. What a great review of The Emotion Thesaurus! Angela and I are always so glad to see our book helping other writers, since that's what we intended from the start. And thank you for sharing how you heard about book. Its success is due mostly to word-of-mouth recommendations like this. We love hearing these stories!

  4. Angela and Becca - thank you both for dropping by CWOW! And my apologies...I didn't realize you both had written the book and only gave credit to sorry, Becca!

    I'm saving my pennies to get a copy of my own, but found that your blog shares so much that I'm being helped already.

    If you ever get back to AZ, be sure and let us know - we would love for you to visit our group.

    Thanks again for your great resource.

  5. Haha, no worries--we see that all the time. Besides, I think Becca and I are twins seperated at birth anyway! :)

    And yes, I would love to visit you guys if I am in Arizona. I will bookmark this so I don't forget to contact you guys if a vacation or conference brings my family your way. :)