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The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression Paperback – May 6, 2012
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About the Author
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; unknown edition (May 6, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 174 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1475004958
- ISBN-13 : 978-1475004953
- Item Weight : 11 ounces
- Dimensions : 7.01 x 0.37 x 10 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #138,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2019
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Top reviews from the United States
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I found THE EMOTION THESAURUS: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO CHARACTER EXPRESSION quite by accident. Stuck on how my cast should convey their elation, joy, frustration or guilt at different moments in my near-polished first novel, this book puts the intangible emotions in your hands and in your writing in concise, shirtsleeve terms. The section of "Techniques for Nonverbal Cues" is a gem with tips and tricks to not let your writing creep into the melodramatic stage, which I freely admit I sometimes do. Ackerman and Puglisi do a stellar job in showing how to depict guilt ("joking to lighten a mood") we'd rely on; or disgust ("spitting or throwing up") in someone or something.
It's about body language, really, and emotions are hard as heck to hide through a physical or verbal motion. This reference, akin to people watching for fascinating verbal and nonverbal cues in a venue like Union Square in NYC or Market Street in Philly, can really nail for your cast their visceral reactions why they react as they do--and letting you take your reader where you wanted them to go. Since having this purchase, I reference this book frequently to convey what the characters' intentions are...and sometimes my own to channel it for them.
It's hard work writing this tight and with this level of imagery, but in the end, your job is to churn your readers' imaginations as this book will do yours. My two faults--one technical, maybe, the other content: as a Kindle version, the TOC tends to go capital letters if you go back to the beginning; when you're in the middle of the emotion list you searched for, it reverts to lowercase. I find the latter easier to read in this form, however. The second: numbness is an emotion. If you aren't feeling anything, you're feeling that nonfeeling. And having posted this in the wake of the horrific events in Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO, and the mall in Ore., this reference would've been perfect to find something to nail down for me how my soul felt to this harrowing news. Words can't convey this level of sadness to the point where your soul cries. Sensing a void so spawning within, time alone is its only competitor in length. We've all experienced this, and some have used this for their writing. I have, and will again.
Or it could be this level of despair doesn't have words to name it as "Despair" does in this book. It comes close, but even this emotion in your soul needs to not be described, and left alone for time to heal.
Excellent book. I highly recommend it, and it's listed for a great price.
It's funny how you'll get a pile of books that have similarities that bug you. This week, it's books where the author attempted to show the non-verbal indicators of emotion, but did so using major indicators. Frustration was shown by "flinging her body onto the bed and throwing her stuffed bear across the room with a wild screech". Oh yeah. I got that I was supposed to be frustrated, but I also felt like I was two years old. This particular heroine wasn't immature. She was supposed to be quiet, withdrawn, subdued. That's not subdued.
My personal opinion is that these are authors trying to show and not tell, but who are still trying to figure out the best way to do that. I recommend The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist. I'm not saying this because I'm making any money on the link. I'm not. This book was actually very helpful even to me. I say this with a note of surprise because I am so very visual and I have my own internal journal of visual emotion indicators. This book goes into the physical signs of someone you're watching. This is great for first person and third person limited because you can convey by watching. Let's go to frustration for example.
If I had Synn (my mc in Fall of Sky City (A Steampunk Fantasy Sci-Fi Adventure Novel) (Devices of War) ) talking to Joshua who was frustrated with me, I could have Joshua do the following:
-narrow eyes in Synn's direction and pinch the lips together
-tap his fingers against the table staring at something that's pointedly not Synn
-Give an impatient snort or sneer
Now, if Joshua were really hot--because he does have a hot temper--he could do something more dramatic.
-swear at Synn
-get up and start pacing, gesturing wildly
-claw the hands and then relax them
These are all straight from the Emotion Thesaurus. Now, you can scoff, if you like, but if you're one of the authors who hasn't figured this out yet, I'm going to laugh maniacally at you as I review your book. Now, here it is, all put together.
"Joshua raised his clawed hands, his lips pinched in frustration, before he turned away, his hands relaxed at his sides."
The Emotion Thesaurus also goes into the internal sensations and the mental responses, and they go into signs of acute or long-term emotions. It's a really fantastic tool I wish more authors were using!
Top reviews from other countries
I don't know what I was expecting and I think maybe I had perhaps unfair expectations. I don't struggle finding the words to describe emotion in writing and I guess I thought I would find loads in here that I hadn't used or thought of, but to say that this book just literally lists the obvious ones (at least to me) is an understatement.
I suppose at the end of the day there are only so many ways you can describe each emotion, but this book just seems embarrassingly blatantly obvious. There are also main emotions not listed as a title such as shock which is a bit odd.
In all fairness the content of this book would be useful if you really do struggle describing the physical side of emotion otherwise it is totally pointless.
If I could get my money back for this I would.
I too bought the kindle version, and the formatting is poor. For example, the chapter title 'WRITING NONVERBAL EMOTION:AVOIDING COMMON PROBLEMS' and subtitle 'TELLING' in screaming caps takes up two thirds of the page, and lends the work an amateur feel. Perhaps the authors could fix this if they update the content?
Fluff for most of the book, table of contents at the back yet again and only a few pages of emotions. The first page of emotions lulled me into a false hope that there would be loads of pages of emotion names, like with the Positive traits book, but I was wrong... unfortunately it's more like the negative traits book.
If you're looking for a book that gives you loads of names of emotions, like I was, then you will be disappointed. If you want to teach your granny how to suck eggs then this might help. The positive traits was the most helpful book of the three for what I wanted.