The Emotion Thesaurus
My fifth book got a lot of feedback from my editor, and the main suggestion was to enhance my descriptions. He recommend purchasing The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman. The book helps writers show emotions as opposed to describing them.
Angela begins with an introduction explaining why it is essential to show the reader a character’s emotions and how to use the book. This part is critical because she explains why readers crave visual descriptions. Angela provided several examples of how a description can be improved, which was eye-opening.
After the introduction, there are several two-page chapters for each emotion. Here is one example: Anxiety. (Note: I am providing a brief part of the chapter because of the copyright.)
The first line is a definition of the word from an emotional perspective. Then, subtitles will show how to describe emotions.
PHYSICAL SIGNALS AND BEHAVIORS:
Rubbing the back of the neck
Crossing the arms, forming a barrier to others
INTERNAL SENSATIONS:
Feeling too hot or too cold
Restless legs
MENTAL RESPONSES:
Thinking about worst-case scenarios
Engaging in self-blame
ACUTE OR LONG-TERM RESPONSES FOR THIS EMOTION:
Excessive sweating
A ragged appearance
SIGNS THAT THIS EMOTION IS BEING SUPPRESSED:
A false smile
Tightness in the eyes
MAY ESCALATE TO:
Fear, Desperation, Paranoia, Panic, Hysteria
MAY DE-ESCALATE TO:
Wariness, Vulnerability, Relief, Gratitude
ASSOCIATED POWER VERBS:
Bother, brood, carve, chase, choke…

The idea behind The Emotion Thesaurus is to provide accessible tools for the writer to show the reader how a character feels. “Bob was anxious.” Should be: “Bob rubbed the back of his neck and knew he was sweating. As Sally approached, he faked his best smile and tried to walk toward her without falling.” Much better.
The Emotion Thesaurus transformed my writing; I wish I had known about it earlier. Now my descriptions read better, and I have more writing confidence. Plus, I think more about what is deep inside my character.
Unfortunately, there are a few issues. This book was intended for writers. We are a select group that expects a high writing standard. (Imagine reading a dictionary with spelling errors.) The introduction and how to use the book section needed work. In addition, I would have expected double the emotional responses. In summary, the book needs more content and a top-notch editor, but despite the flaws, it is an essential tool for every writer.

You’re the best -Bill
April 24, 2024
BUY MY BOOK
Read my next blog.
She Would Not Do That

Follow me







Copyright © 2024 Bill Conrad